What happens when your work life is not optimal due to miscommunication with another team mate or boss? Or your new promotion puts you in a different position with your fellow employees who are now direct reports to you?
That uneasy feeling of not knowing exactly how the relationships will play out can leave you unsettled, uncomfortable, or just plain anxious. This causes unnecessary stress.
Sheri had just been promoted and it wasn’t until she realized that her office mate, Donna, would be one of her new direct report that the celebratory feeling turned to anxiety. How would this play out? If felt like there was a lot at stake – the obvious being the work relationship but they also had begun to socialize together and often commiserated together when work got hard – now she was the boss?!
It’s true that today’s employee spends more than 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, with people who may not all qualify as their best friends, family, or people they would seek out socially. That means that, when hired, employees are expected to get along with people they do not share a wealth of commonalities. This ranges from income, commute, what they prefer to eat, TV favorites, culture, religion, and if they have strong extended family ties – basically everything about each other outside the location and industry of the employing company.
That’s a lot to have to compensate for when you are also trying to produce quality work, and identify where yourself, and your boss, fit on the hierarchy of power.
This could be why companies work so hard to align themselves with the same university programs due to the quality of skills and the alumni commonalities or stick with a single recruiter who does a great job of identifying talent that also adds to the organizational culture of an organization.
But there are no fail-safe ways to invite people to work together that doesn’t have some type of adjustment. Especially when people are being promoted internally, mergers occur, or even as simple as a rearrangement of furniture that requires working with someone who is different from your past office mate.
This requires you to choose. Either do something different or do nothing and hope that it all works out the way you think it should. The latter doesn’t work if you want to have rich professional relationships that make for a great work environment. The obvious is you must do something different.
This is where it can feel scary! But it doesn’t have to – being ready to use feedback as a new engagement tool will provide deep and meaningful work relationships that build trust. Sheri took the plunge and sat down with Donna and voiced her concern about how the promotion might affect their work relationship. Sheri used the great feedback tool of asking, ‘What’s the one thing I can do, to keep our work relationship as successful as we both want?” Information was exchanged about how each appreciated being addressed within the new positions and this led to a great conversation with friendly boundaries of how they could respect what will be required.