Mindfulness at work is not just about finding a place to meditate during your workday—it has to do with being mindful about the relationships you have with your coworkers. Our workplaces are not just about getting things done, because if you do not have good relationships with your co-workers, your tasks are more difficult and your results are limited. So, how can you create better relationships at work?
The secret to better relationships with co-workers? Mindfulness.
First, let’s look at the following relationship-oriented behaviors, as identified by Gary Yukl. How many have you used in your work?
For me, socializing with my co-workers is a very important part of my work.
Through socializing, I have found many things that I have in common with my co-workers: parenting and children, travel, sports, older parents, musicals, running, marriage, cigars, food, home-ownership, and politics (just to name a few). By being mindful of my coworkers and getting to know them, it creates a more respectful, trusting, and comfortable work environment.
Getting along with your coworkers, especially if you have boat loads of similarities, can sometimes be the easiest part of the workplace. But what happens when conflicts arise (and they will)? How can you be mindful of your colleagues when you disagree?
For myself, resolving conflicts in a constructive way is more difficult for me. Recently, I was upset about an incident that occurred at work and how one of my colleagues responded to that incident. Since I had only been working there for less than 6 months, I decided to consult with my co-worker to make sure that my perceptions were valid. I was relieved to find out that she agreed with me. “Let’s talk to him right now,” she insisted. Even I wouldn’t respond that way initially, I trusted my colleague and followed her lead.
When we sat down together to discuss the situation, each of us shared how we felt about what was happening. Our colleague understood how we could feel that way, based on our perception of the situation. He then gave us some context for the situation that helped us to understand his behavior. We all came away from this meeting with a mutual, deeper understanding about the situation, and we strengthened our relationship with one another—this is a major benefit to practicing mindfulness at work.
So, what’s the big secret to getting along with your co-workers, through the good times and bad? It’s simple, really. Be mindful of who you work with and practice mindfulness in times of conflict.