InsideOut Development

5 Ways to Wreck Your Work Relationships

by Jerry Johnson


It isn’t easy, but there are simple ways to renew and enhance working relationships. You can start by avoiding these 5 relationship wreckers.

  1. Neglect: A primary purpose and function of relationships in any organization is to provide encouragement and support for others. When other activities, interests, or preoccupations interfere with your availability, you shortchange your people and become known as the “MIA Manager.” Schedule and spend quality time with all your associates to nurture and maintain genuine and meaningful connections. Expressing interest and caring are behaviors crucial to keeping relationships strong and productive. Offer up regular doses of genuine appreciation.
  2. Scapegoating: We all know it’s not right to kick your dog if you’ve had a hard day at work, so why would we do that to a co-worker? Being held responsible for things we cannot control causes stress and is huge interference to a person’s productivity. That is what we do to people when we scapegoat them. Rather than discourage those who can often define our success as a leader or manager, learn how to productively address tough problems. Ask for help and support from trusted sources.
  3. Gossiping: When you talk about your problems with co-workers or a manager rather than working to improve the situation, that’s gossip. Gossip does nothing to solve problems and often creates additional issues. People feel betrayed and others get a distorted view, which pours negativity into the environment. It stirs resentment and introduces passive aggressive behaviors into the culture of any company. Go directly to those involved and initiate honest and genuine communication. If there are needs not being met, stop complaining and start asking!
  4. Micro-Managing: Wanting things to happen a certain way is natural. But when that tendency crosses over to encroaching on other people’s needs and desires, it creates major havoc. When a healthy level of self-determination is threatened, negative reactions will include anger, resentment, and/or resistance. If your need to control is proving a challenge in your work relationships, identify the motivations behind it and work towards dealing with that issue rather than looking to take it out on others.
  5. Putting Yourself First: Don’t fall into the trap of thinking, “It’s all about me.” Letting self-interest take priority is toxic in any work relationship. This leads to taking relationships with others for granted. If you sense that you have relationships slanted this way, ultimately you lose out. You miss experiencing the energy and productivity that brings meaning, satisfaction, and purpose to your work life. As you work to nurture healthy relationships at work, cultivate a spirit of reciprocity, both lending support and help and expecting and asking for the same from others!

Category: Conversations Employee Engagement Coaching Leadership Career Development

Picture of Jerry Johnson

Jerry Johnson is a sought-after trainer, facilitator, and consultant with over 30 years of multi-faceted business and executive experience. As a senior resource for Fortune 500 companies and government agencies, Jerry has conducted hundreds of training and consulting sessions and is consistently recognized for his outstanding delivery. Jerry lives in Orem, Utah with his wife Sheri and their five children. When he’s not in front of a classroom or client, Jerry enjoys water sports and driving and working on his classic Chevy pick-ups.

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