Building Meaningful Work Relationships: Part 4

Building meaningful work relationships is vitally important for not only being successful but also creating contentment at work. One cannot succeed by being alone in the workplace. There has to be some relationships for either creating opportunities to share experiences and to relate to the struggles that come with the position. Being part of a group at work helps in distributing a workload, getting advice, and creating an understanding of the workplace.

Personally, I have found that having a core group of “go-to” people is critical to not only my success but also my sanity. There are unique challenges with every organization whether it be with understanding the practices or navigating the culture. By having a people that you can share those experiences with, it can help ease that uncomfortable feeling. Those go-to people can also share their experiences to help gain understanding of how to proceed. Sometimes, there might be ways to better navigate the cultural waters. Other times, there has to be an acceptance of how things are. It is through these relationships that these ideas and be vetted. Sometimes just knowing that other people are having the same struggles or going through the same experience is enough to help regain confidence and purpose.

When someone is struggling with an issue or waiting to gain control over a situation, they may choose to join a support group. To a certain level, there should be key relationships at work that act as an internal support group. They can be there to lift you back up, give you guidance for success, or be a sympathetic ear when it is needed most. These relationships can also be a good dose of reality when it is needed most. Again, I will speak from experience. There are times I need to be told to suck it up, move along, and stop whining. Your go-to people should also know when that type of motivation is needed.

IMG_1275 copyIn this series of posts, we have looked at attachment theory and how it can apply to building work relationships. In this post, the fearful typology will be explored. This is a situation where a person would have a negative model of self along with a negative model of others. This is a difficult typology to overcome. This is a person who is not engaging others and they are not allowing others to engage them. The fearful status can be rooted in a variety of issues. It can be the work and the inadequacy of the work, it can be fear of engaging other people, it could be a fear of failure, it could be a fear of rejection, it could be a fear of maintaining the relationship, etc. etc. etc. This typology in a workplace has to take time for deep and meaningful introspection. There has to be an individuals understanding of self and what drives the fear and negative model of self and others. Maybe there was an event that led to the behavior.

In this case, it is important that the individual gain the understanding that having work relationships can be a very positive aspect of the job. The fear can be replaced with an understanding that they may not be alone in the situation. If the fear and negative model is strictly a work practice, then building a relationship can be about becoming a more productive and emotionally healthy employee.

There is always some level of stress that comes with a job. Stress on its own is not altogether a bad thing, but it can be a very negative aspect when it is not managed. Here is a link to an article/interview about stress. The key finding was having that support system. Fear can create even more stress in a workplace. Not only does a support system help build positive models of self and others, it also acts as a stress manager. Finding individuals at the workplace that can relate, speak the same language, and have some understanding is a strong beginning to building meaningful work relationships.

The background information comes from the Third Edition of Broderick and Blewitt’s textbook “The Life Span.” The photo of the chart is taken from the same text. The theory is Bartholomew’s Adult Attachment Typology Model.

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