BSBWOR203 – Develop Effective Workplace Relationships

BSBWOR203 – Develop Effective Workplace Relationships

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Element 1: Develop Effective Workplace Relationships

Performance Criteria Element 1

1.1 Identify own responsibilities and duties in relation to workgroup members and undertake activities in a manner that promotes cooperation and good relationships

1.2 Take time and resource constraints into account in fulfilling work requirements of self and others

1.3 Encourage, acknowledge and act upon constructive feedback provided by others in the workgroup.

Develop Effective Workplace Relationships

Identify Own Responsibilities and Duties in Relation to Workgroup Members and Undertake Activities in a Manner that Promotes Cooperation and Good Relationships

Undertaking Your Work Positively

As an employee, you spend most of your day working with and interacting with others. You may work independently or as part of a team. An essential skill for every employee, manager, and supervisor to have is the ability to work well with others. In this section, we will be examining how you can create positive relationships with others in your workplace.

Excellent interpersonal skills are a requirement for building and maintaining working relationships. They are also a requirement for successfully performing key management functions and achieving organisational goals.

Being positive in the workplace helps build good working relationships.

Many people are used to having to resolve problems and undertake work on their own, rather than as a part of a team, but there are advantages to working in a team. The more people you have working together, the more likely you are to come up with a wider variety of ideas. Taking ideas and opinions from managers and co-workers allows you to be more creative, and develop approaches which are generally more effective at resolving workplace issues.

You will find that your managers are more likely to be impressed with you if you are able to sit down with others and work together in a manner that is smooth and consistent with organisational policy on teamwork, problem solving, and communication.

This also applies at the managerial or supervisory level. All managers must perform the key management functions of planning, organising, staffing, leading, and controlling. The development of productive relationships with colleagues is required of managers under leading and staffing functions. Working well with others involves understanding and appreciating individual differences. It also means using those differences to your best advantage.

Accepting Responsibilities

A key aspect of becoming a more effective worker in any working environment is having the ability to take on significant amounts of responsibility and knowing how this will effect you as a team player in the workplace. There are a range of different types of responsibility that you may take on:

• Those that are a part of your job description
• Those that you are willing to undertake
• Those that come about due to a specific circumstance.

Usual Work Responsibilities

Every worker in a workplace will have a job description which outlines the work that they are expected to undertake for themselves and their managers. This information will be made available to you clearly by your manager during the time that they hire you. In fact, you will probably receive this information before you even apply for the job.

The type of responsibilities will vary significantly depending on the actual work you are going to undertake. When you are starting in a new position or job, you may find that your manager asks you to do work outside your area of responsibility. If you do not feel confident about this work, it is generally better to say no to the work, rather than do it badly.

Additional Responsibilities

We also mentioned the role of additional responsibilities. Most of the time these extra responsibilities are voluntary but if your manager insists that you do these tasks, then they are compulsory.

The advantages of taking on these additional levels of responsibility include:

• Learning how to do new things
• Helping those around you
• Improve your chances for promotion

Whenever you work on additional tasks and learn skills that improve things, you can add these to your curriculum vitae (CV) or resume to show the level of achievement you have reached.

Building Positive Working Relationships

Building relationships through honesty, openness, and effective communication is essential in helping to build trust and overcome personal barriers. The development of mutually beneficial relationships can be achieved and maintained through careful management.

Productive working relationships are reliant on good communication and the ability to work with, and get along with others. However, sometimes good relationships get strained and working together becomes difficult.

Working relationships can get strained by a number of things. For example:

• Difficulties in separating the personal from the professional.
• Personal situations impacting on people’s professional life – and vice versa
• Someone being promoted – one of the troops becomes troop leader
• Individuals spreading gossip and rumours about colleagues
• Individuals having a lack of trust or respect in colleagues.

It is important then that all staff have reliable processes to enable both work related and personal matters to be discussed.

Let’s now look at some general tips of working well with others. We will be going into more detail on some of these later in this resource.

Tips for Building Positive Workplace Relationships
Always be positive about your work.
Remember that no one is perfect, and there is always room for improvement. However, this does not mean that you can concentrate on negative things – always be positive.
It is always useful to be friendly and cooperative as often as possible. This will make people see you in a better light over time.
When you are discussing things with those around you, always give people all of your attention, as this is a sign that you respect what they have to say. People will see you in a positive light if you are able to do this.
When you are discussing things with other people, always be sure to take the time to tell them that you understand what they are trying to say. A good way of doing this is repeating things back to them so that they can hear what you think they said.
Give feedback in private where possible and make sure that it is useful rather than just ‘bagging’ them.
Take the time to praise people when they do well.
Take the time to plan out anything you want to do, rather than just going ahead with it.
Show consideration for other people’s opinions.
Always take the time to say things in a way that will not make them feel the need to be overly defensive. This means trying to avoid appointing blame for something or making ‘you…‘ statements.
Let people know when you are happy with something that you have done, but do not go overboard and brag too much.
Let people know when you are happy with something that you have done, but do not go overboard and brag too much.
Always look on the bright side of everything you do.
Make sure that you understand the image that you are putting forward through your non-verbal communication. Tone of voice, body language and the like all play a significant role in the way that people perceive you.
When you need help, ask for it. If you never ask for help, you are likely to end up under performing in your role.
When you come into a meeting, never become too confrontational – avoid shooting down ideas without taking the time to actually discuss the way that you feel about the idea and getting input from other members of the team.
Remember that everyone is different.
Keep things professional – avoid discussing too many personal things while you are undertaking your major work tasks.
Always be calm and friendly in the workplace – especially when you are attempting to communicate difficult messages.
Keep your communication straightforward – never be overly ambiguous.

Take Time and Resource Constraints into Account in Fulfilling Work Requirements of Self and Others

Resourcing

Unfortunately, modern businesses operate under resource limitations or restrictions. These are called constraints. Few organisations have unlimited resources. For this reason, it is important that you understand the constraints under which you must function, and look for ways to ensure that you work within any resource constraints that exist. Constraints may include:

• Time
• Money
• Staff
• Tools
• Technology.

Whenever you are working on tasks that you have been assigned, whether you are in a team or working as an individual, you need to be sure that you understand the resources that you have been assigned and work only within those resources.

Encourage, Acknowledge and Act on Constructive Feedback Provided by Others in the Workgroup

Feedback is a specific type of information that we may either give to someone or receive from someone depending on the specific circumstances. The feedback process allows you to find ways of improving your workplace performance by hearing what others think of the way that you are undertaking work. Feedback allows you to:

• Appraise others and develop the team as a whole
• Develop your own skills over time
• Overcome problems that you may be having in the workplace.

Getting Feedback

Feedback can be seen from many points of view:

• Never wanting to hear anything negative said
• Not wanting to be critiqued
• Knowing that feedback can allow for improved levels of performance
• Emotionally difficult to hear
• Showing how poor they are at their work.

Ultimately, the way that you feel about feedback is likely to be influenced in a significant way by the way that you actually go about thinking about feedback. If you only think of it as being overly critical, any feedback is likely to be viewed in that way.

However, if you treat feedback as a learning experience, then you are likely to see the whole process in a very different way – you will view everything said as being constructive and useful to your personal development.

There are two major ways to handle feedback – A positive, open way and a negative, closed way:

Negative, Closed Ways of Receiving Feedback
Being defensive about what is being said.
Attacking the person giving the feedback.
Saying that the feedback is wrong.
Not respecting the person that is taking the time to provide you with feedback on your performance.
Ignoring the feedback given.
Not listening carefully to what is being said
Not showing any interest in receiving feedback from someone.
Not using the feedback to improve performance

 

Positive, Open Ways of Receiving Feedback
Being open to listening to what is being said.
Being able to listen to what is being said to you without wanting to attack the person giving you the feedback.
Accept what is being said.
Knowing the importance of feedback and being willing to take what is being said on board.
Listening and asking for clarification about any points raised, especially when you are unsure about what has been said.
Listening carefully.
Thinking through the feedback and looking for ways in which you can apply it to your everyday life.
Showing interest in actually getting the feedback.
Giving Feedback

Now that you understand how to receive feedback, let’s take a look at the process of giving feedback. This process is one which you either love doing or you absolutely hate doing. However, it is generally easier to give feedback than to receive it.

Giving feedback is important in that it actually provides those around you with a means of making improvements to their work processes and in turn this leads to improved performance for the workplace as a whole. Giving feedback means:

• Understanding your work mates
• Being positive about what you are trying to say
• Being honest
• Being sensitive to the needs of those around you.

 

Ineffective, Negative Feedback
Don’t attack the performance of those around you, this will make people defensive.
Be direct, vague feedback just leads to those around you getting confused.
Showing a lack of consideration for those you are giving feedback to.
Insulting performance levels of your staff.
Judging people on their personality and personal attributes not their performance.
Being too broad in your appraisal.
Giving feedback at a bad time, or too long after the event.
Giving feedback without enough thought put in.
Giving feedback based on what you want to say, rather than what the receiver needs to actually hear.

 

Effective, Positive Feedback
Using a manner that is supportive of the needs of the individual.
Focusing on the most important areas.
Being sensitive rather than insulting.
Working to give feedback in a manner that is not demeaning.
Focusing on areas of work that can be improved rather than focusing on the personality of the individual.
Being as specific as possible.
Giving any feedback as close as you can to the event which actually lead to the feedback being given.
Taking the time to think through the feedback you will give.
Making sure that any feedback that you provide will actually be of assistance to the person you are giving it to.

Feedback can be given to an individual at a range of times – knowing when to give it is key to giving good feedback. Try to find a time as close as possible to the event that you will be providing feedback about. Meetings are useful – especially when:

• You plan the meeting well.
• You take the time to hold meetings on a regular basis.
• You make sure all team members attend the meetings.
• You have an agenda to follow rather than just going with the flow.
• You make sure the meetings begin and end at a set time.
• You ensure any decisions made are taken down.
• You chair the meetings to ensure they do not drag on for too long.
• You ensure the meeting follows organisational rules.
• You ensure that all staff are able to be involved.

Performance appraisals and one-on-one interviews between yourself and the worker concerned are also highly appropriate times to hold feedback sessions. When you are doing this:

• Identify what needs to be discussed early in the process.
• Make sure you set a start and end time.
• Make sure that you stay on topic and do not drift too far from this.
• Make sure that you both agree on what needs to be done.
• Make sure that for the length of the meeting, nothing will interrupt you.
• Hold the meeting in a neutral environment to both parties.
• Ensure that the matters discussed are confidential.

The final thing you could try is to have an open door policy. This means that whenever staff feel like they need or want some feedback on their performance, you are there to give them advice and feedback on what they are doing. In order to make this work:

• Make sure your staff know you are available.
• Ensure that you are organised enough to know when times are available for any such discussion.
• Ensure that you show interest in the work of those around you.
• Make sure you follow the communication advice given on previous pages.

Feedback focuses on issues and events that have already occurred, so by this point it is often too late to try and make changes to the way that the specific event was dealt with.

An alternative approach is the ‘feed forward’.

This approach attempts to get people to think about areas of their performance that they know are weak and allow them to look for ways of making any such improvements to their performance before it is needed.

Feedback is something that is undertaken on an everyday basis. You may be asked to give or receive feedback regularly. This means that you need to:

• Understand why someone may want to give or receive feedback
• Understand the skills of listening and speaking
• Think through what you are saying carefully
• Make a commitment to improvement.

“The more feedback you give to people, the better it is, as long as the feedback is objective and not critical.” – Brian Tracy

Key Points

• An essential skill for every employee, manager, and supervisor to have is the ability to work well with others. Excellent interpersonal skills are a prerequisite for building and maintaining positive working relationships.

• Accepting responsibilities that go along with your career can help you to advance in your profession.

• Building relationships through honesty, openness, and effective communications are essential in helping to build trust and overcome personal barriers.

• Feedback is a way to let people know how effective they are in what they are trying to accomplish, or how they affect you.

• Organisational cultures unite an organisation’s staff.