Nurturing Your Future Helpers
Take a moment to reflect on your greatest accomplishments at work, and you’ll likely discover that your success was supported by the contributions of many other people who were working to help you succeed. Feeding and nurturing those work relationships now will pay off in dividends when you need it most. Another way of saying this is that you cannot expect to start building a relationship on the same day that you need to ask someone for help.
Do you feel that the people around you at work are holding you back? Would you like to accomplish more, but realize that you can’t do it alone?
Our suggestion? Focus upon the following essential relationship-building skills, and harness the power of collaboration for greater success.
Here’s a few interpersonal skills that nurture relationships at work:
- Empathy. When you are able to consider another person’s perspective or experience, you nurture that relationship. Empathy is as simple as considering how a person might react to your communication, or reflecting on their challenges as they cope with a crisis or problem.
- Compassion. John Gaspari of CWFL says that compassion occurs when we combine empathy with action. When you sense that someone could use assistance, build that relationship by showing compassion with some action that helps or nurtures your coworker.
- Encouragement. This is a lost art. According to Jer, writing on the blog Dumb Little Man, he states that “to encourage another person is to help him gain courage that he might not otherwise possess – to face the day, do what’s right, take risks, or make a difference.”
- Helpful. So often I am told by guests who visit CWFL that their burden was eased by a coworker coming up to them at the end of a shift and asking, “What can I do to help?”, with the intention of helping the employee get out the door and home to loved ones.
The people with whom you work reflect your own attitude. If you are suspicious, unfriendly and condescending, you will find theses unlovely traits echoed all about you. But if you are on your best behavior, you will bring out the best in the persons with whom you are going to spend most of your working hours. – Beatrice Vincent
- Cooperative. There is charity and immense nurturing in the act of cooperation. Most all of the times that things have gone smoothly on a shared project or partnership involved organic cooperation, but because it was seamless and lacked drama, we might have misunderstood that as easy or guaranteed. Take time to appreciate (and offer recognition for) the act of cooperation offered by others daily, and strive to do the same for/with others.
- Cheer, optimism. I had the privilege of conducting a grief group this year for a department who lost a coworker suddenly. The universal and consistent appreciation expressed about her life was how she greeted everyone by name, smiled constantly, and tried to help lift others’ spirits. This seems to have occurred at the same time that she was coping as a single parent and some of her own health concerns. Her cheerfulness will now be a legacy for that work group to adopt and carry forward.
- Friendliness. Research on employee retention shows that job satisfaction skyrockets when an employee feels that their coworkers are friendly and welcoming. This includes providing the daily courtesies of greetings, a few moments to show interest in the life of others outside of work, and providing some playfulness and humor (when appropriate for the workplace).
- Courtesy. I’ve been in more than one group discussion where hard feelings started when someone ate food out of the refrigerator that didn’t belong to them, or not including a coworker in an invitation to lunch, or carrying on a loud conversation next to someone who is trying to focus upon their work. People generally are reluctant to offer help to others when they have been treated without courtesy.
Nurturing is not a Multi-Tasking Event
Brain studies have recently discovered an interesting fact: the brain structure that creates nurturing thoughts and actions will always be hijacked by the part of the brain used for problem-solving. This suggests that both cannot occur at the same time. When you intend to display or provide nurturing actions, make sure to give yourself permission not to have to “fix problems” during the conversation, so that you can maximize the nurturing brainpower.