Good work relationships are the key to a positive workplace and a productive one. In fact, optimal relationships at work are critical for building a successful career and finding long-term satisfaction in one’s job. The Bayt.com ‘Workplace Dynamics in the Middle East and North Africa’ poll, June 2013, reveals that 10% of professionals in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region would actually leave their job because of a ‘bad work environment’. Another 17.6% of the region’s professionals chose a ‘good manager-employee relationship’ as one of the top factors for employee retention, as per the Bay.com ‘Employee Retention in the MENA Workplace’ poll, February 2013.
Here, the career experts at Bayt.com suggest some ways to nurture and maintain constructive relationships with your managers and colleagues:
1. Be consistently true to your values
Integrity matters. People can generally see right through people if not immediately then over time, and definitely co-workers have a good measure of each other with the length of time they spend together. Ask yourself what your core values are and be sure you are consistently true to them. 70% of respondents in the Bayt.com ‘Values, Ethics and Integrity in the MENA Workplace’ poll, June 2014, think that success is possible without compromising your morals and values at work. You will be more respected by everyone you work with if you are known as an honest professional with real integrity and an upstanding character.
2. Respect company resources
You company’s time, assets and reputation are yours for the safekeeping, so ensure they are respected and nurtured at all times. Tardiness, a sloppy work ethic and a lukewarm attitude towards the company’s employees and brand are not only potentially contagious but they will fail to endear you to more serious and focused professionals around you who are more loyal to the company and passionate about their personal career trajectory and professional brand. The Bayt.com ‘Absenteeism in the MENA Workplace’ poll, July 2012, shows that 58.2% of the regions’ professionals regard absenteeism as being very harmful to a company’s productivity.
3. Be pleasant and professional
By all means join the weddings, baby showers, sports teams, and after-work gatherings as and when appropriate and seek to be part of creating a joyful office spirit and sincere winning camaraderie. However it’s best to clearly delineate between your home life emotions and professional life priorities and make sure your professional self is as focused and productive as can be. Aim to walk into your place of work every morning with an attitude of pleasant can-do optimism and polite professionalism leaving all your personal worries and obstacles behind. 30% of professionals in the region see a ‘command and control style’ as one of the biggest turnoffs in a manager; 11% mentioned poor communications skills (as per the Bayt.com ‘Workplace Dynamics in the Middle East and North Africa’ poll).
4. Be a peacemaker
We all know them; the gossips and rift-makers who thrive on office politics and always seek to amplify differences, escalate problems and create general discord. Steer clear of their troublemaking at all costs and make it clear you have no desire to magnify issues that can easily be resolved to everyone’s advantage. Simply maintaining a pleasant demeanor and refusing to engage with their misplaced opinions, stealth tactics and improper conversation should win you kudos with the more self-respecting and straightforward members of the team. 15% of professionals in the MENA say that employers are looking above all for ‘character and integrity’ when hiring, according to the Bayt.com ‘Workplace Dynamics in the Middle East and North Africa’ poll.
5. Become a valuable resource
Nothing beats the awe inspired by a job well done. Aim to be an expert and top practitioner in your field so you are actively sought and highly regarded for your advice and input at all times. Don’t take mediocrity for an answer and your name will soon be synonymous with a passion for excellence. Be generous in imparting your knowledge and experience with your peers so you build a robust pool of admirers and advocates within the team and across the firm. The Bayt.com ‘Hiring Management in the MENA’ poll, August 2012, shows that 13% of the region’s employers are mostly looking look for senior executives and managers who display technical excellence and industry knowledge, with a further 4.8% of them mainly searching for professionals with a track record of creativity and innovation.
6. Put yourself in your manager’s shoes
Your boss is not the enemy. If you cannot bring yourself to like and admire your immediate manager or even respect their experience and authority, then you are most likely in the wrong role. Do some soul searching. If you have always had problems with your managers, then maybe it’s your own style, priorities, and personal outlook and expectations you need to work on a little. It helps to imagine yourself in your manager’s shoes and situation to understand how your role, behavior and attitude can best be modified to directly impact the company’s productivity and improve team morale. The Bayt.com ‘Work Satisfaction in the MENA’ poll, November 2012, reveals that 12.5% of the region’s professionals feel that management’s expectations of them are unrealistic. If you think that your manager’s expectations are not making sense then it may be time to sit down with your manager and have an honest conversation about your job role and responsibilities.
7. Don’t be the prodigal child
Yes, in this day and age you can work from anywhere and everywhere for many jobs but if your company has a strict corporate culture that expects you to be physically present don’t adopt your home couch or the lobby or pantry as your best friend. Remember, companies need to manage a vast realm of expectations, priorities and circumstances, and if you set a poor precedent in terms of actual presence, others may want to follow suit. A lot of success is a result of close teamwork and direct collaboration, so your availability in the office at your desk within the timelines required for your role is paramount for a project’s optimal completion as well as for your own visibility. A good way to have a great day at work is to reduce distraction by making lists. According to the Bayt.com ‘Distractions at Work in the MENA’ poll, December 2013, 94% of professionals in the MENA use to-do lists to organize their day. Make sure to start your day by listing all the important tasks that have to be completed and crossing them out throughout the day.
8. Smile and feel it
Sincerity goes a long way as does good energy; and a sincerely positive and genuinely friendly and amiable demeanor in the workplace is pure magic. Deliver your “Good Morning”s and “Please”s and “Thank you”s with a generous smile felt from your very core, and watch your positivity resonate with all around you and be remembered, recognized as your trademark, and returned.