In today's fast-paced work environment, building strong relationships with colleagues can often be overlooked or undervalued. However, research has shown that strong workplace relationships can have a significant impact on employee well-being, job satisfaction, and productivity.
In this article, I explore the concept of micromoves and how they can be used to build the work relationships you want instead of settling for the ones you have. I will also discuss the importance of practices like gratitude, active listening, empathy, inclusivity, and positivity in building strong relationships. Finally, I will provide examples of micromoves that can help strengthen workplace relationships, both in-person and while working remotely.
What Research Say about the Importance and Impact of Strong Workplace Relationships
The importance of strong workplace relationships cannot be overstated. In fact, research has shown that strong relationships are essential for a positive work environment and can have a significant impact on employee well-being, job satisfaction, and productivity.
Studies have found that employees who have strong workplace relationships report feeling more engaged and committed to their work. They also tend to have higher levels of job satisfaction and are less likely to experience burnout or turnover.
Furthermore, strong workplace relationships can lead to better teamwork, communication, and collaboration. When employees trust and respect one another, they are more likely to work together effectively and achieve common goals.
In addition to improving employee well-being and productivity, strong workplace relationships can benefit organizations as a whole. Companies with positive work cultures tend to have higher levels of employee retention, better customer satisfaction, and increased profitability.
Overall, the research suggests that investing in strong workplace relationships is essential for creating a positive work environment and achieving organizational success. By prioritizing relationship-building and implementing micromoves to strengthen connections with colleagues, organizations can reap the benefits of a positive and productive workplace culture.
The Value of "Micromoves"
We tend to think of these relationships as either good or bad and assume that they will remain that way. However, this approach is limiting, and we fail to realize that most relationships are a mix of both. Furthermore, relationships are dynamic, and they tend to ebb and flow.
As we navigate our relationships in the workplace, it is essential to understand the concept of "micromoves." Micromoves are small actions that may seem inconsequential at the moment but have a significant impact on how we relate to one another. These micromoves can either strengthen or weaken our relationships with our colleagues.
Here are some ways we can use micromoves to build the work relationships we want instead of settling for the ones we have.
Practice gratitude: It is easy to take our colleagues for granted, especially when we work in a fast-paced environment. However, expressing gratitude can go a long way in strengthening our relationships. Simple gestures like saying "thank you" or acknowledging someone's contribution can make a significant difference.
Be present: In today's digital age, it is easy to get distracted by our devices. However, being present when interacting with our colleagues can help us build stronger relationships. When talking to someone, put away your phone, make eye contact, and actively listen. These micromoves communicate that we value the other person and are invested in the relationship.
Show empathy: Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. It is a crucial component of building strong relationships, especially in the workplace. Micromoves like checking in with a colleague who is going through a tough time or acknowledging their feelings can help them feel seen and heard.
Be inclusive: Inclusive workplaces are essential for building strong relationships. Micromoves like inviting colleagues to join a project, seeking out diverse perspectives, or acknowledging the contributions of all team members can help foster a sense of belonging.
Stay positive: Negativity can be contagious and can quickly erode relationships. On the other hand, positivity can help build strong connections. Micromoves like acknowledging someone's strengths, celebrating successes, or expressing optimism can help create a positive work environment.
Our relationships with our colleagues are crucial to our success in the workplace. By understanding the concept of micromoves and implementing them in our interactions, we can build stronger, more meaningful relationships. So, let us take the time to practice gratitude, be present, show empathy, be inclusive, and stay positive in our interactions with our colleagues.
Additional Examples of "Micromoves" that Can Strengthen Workplace Relationships
Here are a several more examples of micromoves that can help strengthen workplace relationships:
Use active listening techniques: When engaging in a conversation with a colleague, pay attention to their body language, tone of voice, and the words they use. You can demonstrate active listening by paraphrasing what they said and asking clarifying questions.
Remember small details: Remembering small details about a colleague, such as their favorite coffee shop or their child's name, can demonstrate that you care about them as a person and not just as a colleague.
Offer to help: Offering to help a colleague with a project or task can help build trust and show that you are invested in their success.
Give feedback: Giving constructive feedback can be an effective way to help colleagues improve their performance. Offering feedback in a respectful and supportive manner can help build trust and improve the relationship.
Share credit: When working on a project or task with a colleague, make sure to share credit for the work. Recognizing the contributions of others can help build goodwill and strengthen relationships.
Remember, the key to effective micromoves is to be intentional and consistent. Small actions can have a significant impact on workplace relationships, so take the time to identify areas where you can improve your interactions with colleagues.
Tips for Maintaining Strong Workplace Relationships While Working Remotely
Maintaining strong workplace relationships while working remotely can be challenging, but it's essential. Here are a few tips that can help you maintain strong workplace relationships while working remotely.
Schedule regular check-ins: Schedule regular check-ins with your colleagues to stay connected. These check-ins can be formal or informal, depending on your relationship with the colleague.
Use video conferencing: When communicating with colleagues, use video conferencing as much as possible. Being able to see each other's faces can help maintain a sense of connection and improve communication.
Prioritize communication: Communication is key when working remotely. Make sure to keep your colleagues informed of your progress and any challenges you are facing.
Be flexible: Remote work can be challenging, and it's essential to be flexible. Be willing to adjust schedules and deadlines to accommodate your colleagues' needs.
Practice empathy: When working remotely, it's important to practice empathy. Recognize that your colleagues may be dealing with additional challenges, such as juggling work and family responsibilities. Being understanding and supportive can help maintain strong relationships.
Remember, the key to maintaining strong workplace relationships while working remotely is to prioritize communication, flexibility, and empathy. By staying connected with your colleagues and demonstrating a willingness to adapt to changing circumstances, you can maintain strong relationships despite the challenges of remote work.
Investing in building strong workplace relationships is essential for creating a positive work environment and achieving organizational success. By consistently demonstrating positive behaviors and investing in relationships with colleagues, we can create a more positive and productive work environment. Let's prioritize communication, flexibility, and empathy and implement micromoves to strengthen connections with colleagues. By doing so, we can foster a positive and productive work culture where everyone can thrive.
Jonathan H. Westover, PhD is Chief Academic & Learning Officer (HCI Academy); Chair/Professor, Organizational Leadership (UVU); OD Consultant (Human Capital Innovations). Read Jonathan Westover's executive profile here.