Avoiding Relationships At Work Is Bad For You
Every so often I encounter a person who has taken the moral high ground that they shouldn’t have to have relationships with people they work with. The rationalization put forth can be in a combination of the following:
- I’m here to work not socialize
- I don’t want to share personal information with the people I work with and it shouldn’t be necessary
- If I share personal information it will be used against me or gossiped about
- I don’t like the people I work with and don’t want to have relationships with them
I can see a little of the righteousness in the thinking but only a very little. A person who avoids relationships at work is lacking insight about how the world works.
You have a relationship with everyone you work with even if it is bad.
By definition a relationship at it’s simplest is the connection any two people have. In this case, the connection you have is that you work together. End of story. You have a relationship with everyone you work with.
That means if you are avoiding a relationship with people at work, you are choosing to have something less than positive. It could be neutral all the way to bad. For a person with the type of perspective I’ve outlined, its usually bad. The co-worker has no incentive to build a relationship with someone who is standoffish and unfriendly.
I’ll also note that I’ve yet to encounter a person with this perspective that was experiencing a great career or any growth. These people tend to be angry, bitter and resentful because of problems they’ve had to deal with – all stemming from this issue. This is not a way to live.
If anything I’ve outlined so far even slightly describes you, please read on. The worst thing you can do is to turn away from this problem.
There are significant reasons to make the relationships at work to be as good as possible:
- Training – Most people learn their job from their co-workers and this is not just a one-time activity when you start your job. If you alienate your peers, they will not want to share information or help train you. This will directly impact your performance.
- Support – We all work like the gears of a clock. You can’t work completely independently. You depend on other people to supply you with the output of their job and vice-versa. A poor relationship will prevent the interdependence to be effective or efficient. Your peer will also not be inspired to give you extra help when you need it – and you will need support at various times.
- Out of “sync” – By choosing to be outside the circle it is impossible for you do a good job. You will miss communication as well as an understanding of the interplay between members of the group.
- Opportunities – Like it or not, your next job, promotions and even project assignments are 80% a by-product of our relationships. This makes relationships vital to your success.
In building relationships, you don’t have to get deeply personal to develop or nurture the relationship. You find common interests and provide support, which you can only do by getting to know the other person. People are always a good investment.