We live in an age where we may be technologically connected yet we feel pangs of loneliness at some point in our lives. This naturally hints at the importance of being connected with people in real life too. With this as a point of reference, let’s talk about our equation with colleagues at work. We all know that we spend a major part of our day with our coworkers. How we spend it is directly proportionate to the quality of our working day. As it turns out, a research points out that having stronger bonds with folks at office is quite important as it helps us be more creative, resilient during tough times.
If you are willing to have a better day at work then a research by Harvard Business Review suggests four ways of doing so which have been discussed below. If you notice it all starts with being compassionate. There ought to be some sort of connection between you and your colleagues in an atmosphere where stress of deadlines and relationship and expectation management can take a toll on our mental peace.
Notice if your colleagues are in distress
We are often told to keep our emotions under wraps, especially in a professional setup. Who cries, we’re told? Only the weak crumble under pressure. Let us tell you that they are all lies. It’s a fact that some of them may adhere to these dictates but some may be shouting out for your help. So, keep your eyes and ears open for both kind of people. Notice if there is any unusual change in your their behaviour. Has their body language and tone of voice altered? Are they acting differently? Get irritated or angry for no reason? It is possible that they are having a rough day or there could be something bigger? Go and speak to them as it can be comforting. For instance, ask how they’ve been lately or how are they holding up to work deadlines.
Ask the right questions at the right time
Yes, you’ve got to ask questions that are non-intrusive like, ‘Are you ok?’. Don’t just pounce on them asking why they are so dull and crying and irate etc. Next, time them right. Don’t barge into their cubicle or their cabin just because you feel it is the way to go about it. Chances are that you are going to make it awkward and they will push you back too.
A catch-22 situation may arise as well if you don’t know them too well and go about talking to them about their crisis. In such a situation speak to someone who’s closer to them. In the research published in HBR, researchers talk about an organisation where a person who was a victim of domestic violence worked. Her colleagues didn’t find it appropriate to speak to her about it directly, especially since it was quite personal and traumatic for her. So, they decided to share their concern for her with her friends at work who then passed on the message. It is these intermediaries who then took care of collecting donation etc. Similarly, if you too come across people who are in a difficult spot personally or professionally you can speak to their confidante who can eliminate awkwardness and facilitate any kind of help that can pull them out of challenging times.
Nudge the empath in you
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, empathy is ‘the ability to understand and share the feelings of another'. So, basically you’ve got to become better at willing to feel for someone who is in a difficult phase of their life. Some people think that empathy can only come if you have a similar experience as the person who is suffering, but that’s not entirely correct. You should be humane enough to alleviate people’s problems and become their support system.
Don’t follow the script
Offering condolences or asking if you can do something to help your colleague is a script that everybody follows. Nothing’s wrong with it, but it’s not entirely warm, don’t you think? It is so overused that it almost annoys the recipient even if they don’t have the bandwidth to respond to it. Could it be because it is an empty gesture? Perhaps. This calls out for you to become more compassionate. Show genuine concern.
The researchers once again talk about a situation where an executive’s nephew passed away in a tragic accident right before he was to attend a board meeting. Instead of a typical response, his colleagues decided to show their concern by excusing him from the meeting, donating their leaves to him etc.
So, having read about how the affected colleagues’ coworkers responded, don’t you think you too should think outside the box? We hope you agree with us.
As a concluding note, we would like to say that whatever you do to become a better colleague, make sure you are consistent in your efforts as well as emotions. That goes a long way into building healthier and meaningful relationships. Engage with people around you. Most importantly learn to be genuine and trustworthy.