In preparing the previous post The Foundations of Happiness I could not happen to find the tenth determinant of engagement – I have a best friend at work – a little curious.
I certainly understand the need to have supportive relationships in the workplace, but I thought stipulating having a “best” friend at work was going a bit far. Interestingly, so did some management groups, who put pressure on Gallup to remove it from the list. It appears there is a deal of fear out there about people combining personal and work lives, and getting too social at work.
And so Gallup did some tests, removing the word “best” and instead using softer words like “close” or “good,” or excluded the word “best” entirely. However, when this was done, an extraordinary thing happened. No longer was it possible to distinguish highly productive workgroups from mediocre ones. This showed that having a “best” friend at work actually creates great workgroups.
On further reflection, it now makes a lot more sense to me. With best friends there is genuine care and concern, a willingness to help and natural collaboration. Frank and fearless communication also allows for constructive conflict. Recognition, support and encouragement are also freely given amongst best friends, which makes for a truly wonderful working environment. All of these things actually contribute to productivity, rather than detract from it.
Ultimately a best friend is one who provides an open, caring and supportive environment. And it is in this kind of environment that we can truly shine. Henry Ford has said that his “best friend is the one who brings out the best in me.” At the end of the day, we can all do with someone to help us be our best in life. We spend so much of our lives at work, it would be a true pity not to be our best there too!
Something For You To Try
While you might not have a best friend at work, here are some things that you can do to foster closer relationships with your workmates (for more ideas go to http://respectalliance.com/archives/best-friend-at-work):
- Make an effort to find out your colleagues birthdays and book in celebrations with them. Everyone likes to be treated specially on their birthdays, and it can really make people feel treasured and connected.
- Plan time with the team to just talk, laugh and connect. Maybe you could book in a weekly coffee outing or morning tea time.
- What about exercise? You could start a walking group, going out for some fresh air and a chat along the way. What a great way to build relationships and refresh the body and mind at the same time!
- Learn together – Find a workshop, webinar or a book that holds interest for the whole team. Webinars are great ideas because you can all watch these together, and there is usually no cost involved. Spend some time talking about both the personal and team learning from these activities.