Managing the Effects of Personal Relationships in the Workplace

managing the effects of personal relationships in the workplaceWhatever job we do, we are often told that we should leave home at home and not bring domestic problems in the workplace. It is in fact a highly unrealistic statement. How any manager expects that to actually happen is beyond me; they are either not human, or extremely dissatisfied in their own personal lives and have thrown themselves into work.

The truth of the matter is that it happens to the best of us… We can’t always switch our emotions off. Anyone who has gone through a personal drama knows this. The only thing we can do is learn how to manage it properly, so that personal relationships have a lesser impact on our productivity and performance.

The first thing is acceptance. Once we have dug our ostrich head from under the proverbial sand and chosen to face facts, we can then implement strategies to deal with it.

Whether with our own emotions or our staff’s, the key is to learn how to recognise there is a problem. This can be tricky when we are too deeply associated with the situation.

It is actually easier than we think and just taking a few minutes each day to analyse if someone is acting the same as they normally do, will help to establish whether there is a problem or not. Common signals are a change in language or attitude, general demeanour and mood, as well as looking at general appearance.

I can’t stress enough the importance to listen properly, not just to what is said, but to what isn’t said. Communication is only 7% words. 38% is the way we say those words and 55% is body language. Non-verbal cues are crucial and what will tell the whole story.

Once it has been established there is a potential personal issue, it is essential to ask the right questions and in the right way. This is where trust, and a good relationship between a manager and his team, will make all the difference.

The key here is to create a work environment where people will feel happy to open up and be honest about what is going on, as opposed to putting on a front and be worried of the consequences. This is what will really affect their performance in the long run.

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