Volume 16, Issue 4
Strong Connections at Work Increase Job Satisfaction
Our jobs require a significant amount of our physical and mental energy each day. Our level of job satisfaction is derived from a combination of the quality of our job performance and of our workplace relationships. Co-workers who have trusting and respectful relationships are much more likely to work together effectively and can experience greater job satisfaction. The organization also benefits: co-workers who work well together that make it possible for the organization to move towards its goals.
Before you launch your improvement plan, ask yourself: is there trust between you and your co- workers? Respect? Are your relationships working well? If you find that you are not getting along with your co-workers, remember that you cannot change others but you can change yourself. Generational differences, management styles, educational backgrounds and cultural diversity are sources that contribute to misunderstandings. While they don’t need to be, misunderstandings and communication problems can be a major challenge in the workplace, and they can greatly impact your job satisfaction. Here are some ideas for improving relationships at work, strengthening communication and boosting job satisfaction.
- Be sensitive to people’s feelings. This is just as necessary at work as in our personal lives.
- Listen carefully to others’ points of view. Really hear what the your co-worker is saying. Reflect back what you think you heard, e.g. “so are you saying that………..?”
- Without sharing information inappropriately, be open and genuine about yourself to build trust. Be honest in your interactions and how you con- duct yourself.
- Share information – don’t hoard it.
- Be specific and direct when speaking with others. Be thoughtful with your words, but don’t be so vague that your comments are easily misinterpreted.
- Take responsibility for your actions and mistakes. This is how you build trust and respect.
- Avoid trying to be ”right” for the sake of winning, saving face or showing someone else down.
- Take the “us vs. the problem” approach instead of the “me vs. you” approach
- Be willing to resolve conflict with others. Address problems rather than hiding or ignoring them. Refusing to apologize for mistakes that astrain among co-workers.
- Accept constructive criticism. When you are critiquing others, do so professionally, with good eye contact and in an appropriate tone. Avoid poor body language such as crossing your arms, yawning or fidgeting.
- Resist the temptation to get involved in others’ interpersonal conflicts. Everyone must resolve his or her own workplace relational challenges.
- Answer your phone. Make yourself available. Return voicemail messages within a reasonable timeframe (24 hours).
- Maintain boundaries and set limits to behaviors and interactions you will accept from co-workers.
- Don’t react every time a co-worker makes an in- sensitive or thoughtless remark. It’s a reflection on his or her character, not on you.
- During an episode of co-worker conflict, agree on a time and place to talk with your co-worker to try to resolve misunderstandings before you involve your supervisor.
- Know when a concern is more than common interpersonal conflict, e.g., sexual, or racial issues, harassment or bullying, physical aggression or intimidation, all of which merit immediate discussion with a supervisor or Human Resources.
Dale Carnegie’s bestseller, How to Win Friends and Influence People, has assisted thousands in building better relationships with methods and suggestions that have proven successful through the test of time:
- It is not so much about the logical stuff. Body language and voice tonality account for approximately 90% of communication.
- Things you are better off avoiding in communication: criticism, condemnation and complaints. These negative expressions can limit your life.
- Talk less about yourself and your life. Listen to other people.
- Focus outwardly, not inwardly. Be interested and curious about others.
- Caring too much about what other people think will distort your thinking.
- Arguing with others to defend your position will not improve relationships. Avoiding unnecessary arguments is a win-win situation.
- Take control of your emotions. If you constantly look for external validation, this leaves your emotions in the hands of others and places you on an emotional rollercoaster. Drive your own emotional car.
Co-workers who have trusting and respectful relationships are much more likely to work together effectively and can experience greater job satisfaction.
Tips for Living Wisely
- Let it go.
- Focus on the big picture.
- Stay in touch.
- Stand (and sit) up straight.
- Learn to adapt.
- Let the music play. Dance!
Stress Management: Vital to Your Health and Wellness
During a recent episode of The Dr. Oz Show, Dr. Michael Roizen quizzed the audience on their opinions of which of the big three lifestyle is- sues caused a person to age more: tobacco, alcohol or stress. The majority of the audience answered tobacco or alcohol. The correct answer was stress. All three contribute to accelerated aging of the body and brain, but research has shown that stress surpasses the other two by aging a person as much as eleven years beyond their birth age.
Stress can be defined as any type of change that causes physical, emotional or psychological strain. Not all stress is bad. A normal stress response can keep you focused, motivated and alert. The physical response of “fight-or-flight” is a natural defense reaction to handle perceived danger in our environments. It assists us in meeting challenges and performing well at work or school. The “bad” stress is referred to as chronic stress. This is the type of stress which seems never- ending. This is the stress that damages your health, your mood, your productivity, your relationships and your quality of life.
- Raises blood pressure
- Suppresses the immune system
- Increases fatigue
- Lowers concentration
- Increases the risk of heart attack and stroke
- Contributes to infertility
- Accelerates the aging process
- Rewires the brain leading to increased risk of anxiety and depression.
Assess your stress reactions
Identify what is causing your stress and evaluate how you react to it. Monitor your reaction to stressful situations for a week. Do you have a pain response, i.e. muscle tension, upset stomach, headaches or insomnia? Do you overeat? Do you find yourself reacting with anger to- ward co-workers, family or friends? Are you crying over minor issues? Reacting negatively to events the majority of the time? Returning to smoking as a reaction to stress? Using alcohol or drugs to numb the effects of stress?
Steps toward Wellness
- Practice stress management techniques. Journaling, yoga, laughing and deep breathing are proven methods to increase immunity.
- Take care of your body. Eat a healthy diet. Get adequate sleep. Exercise – the body produces endorphins, your body’s natural mood- booster, with daily exercise such as walking.
- Maintain a supportive network. Healthy relationships boost immunity and help manage stress.
- Rest your mind. Cut back on caffeine; remove distractions such as television or computers from your sleeping area to promote a good night’s sleep.
- Stay organized and maintain balance in your life. Keep your living space uncluttered. Learn to say not o activities that are not congruent with your priorities.
Your EAP is a great partner and resource to assist you in addressing personal concerns such as stress, anxiety and other related issues. A PAS consultant can help you assess your primary sources of stress, how you react and ways to better to cope and respond to them to achieve a healthier and more balanced life. Call your EAP 800 356 0845
to learn more about the many counseling and life management services available to help you improve your quality of life. Note: Dr. Michael Roizen is Chief Wellness Officer of Cleveland Clinic, author of Real Age: Are You as Young as You Can Be? and Chief Medical Consultant to the Dr. Oz Show.
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PASWord Express © 2013 is published by Personal Assistance Services, 9735 Landmark Parkway, Suite 17, St. Louis, MO, 63127 -9968 (800) 356-0845. Material may not be reproduced without written permission.