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Coworkers At Work Mindfulness

The Secret to Better Relationships with Co-Workers? Mindfulness.

Mindfulness at work is not just about finding a place to meditate during your workday—it has to do with being mindful about the relationships you have with your coworkers.

Our workplaces are not just about getting things done, because if you do not have good relationships with your co-workers, your tasks are more difficult and your results are limited.

So, how can you create better relationships at work?

Being Mindful At Work

First, let’s look at the following relationship-oriented behaviors, as identified by Gary Yukl. How many have you used in your work?

  • Provide support and encouragement to someone with a difficult task.
  • Express confidence that a person or group can perform a difficult task.
  • Socialize with people to build relationships.
  • Recognize contributions and accomplishments.
  • Provide coaching and mentoring when appropriate.
  • Consult with people on decisions affecting them.
  • Allow people to determine the best way to do a task.
  • Keep people informed about actions affecting them.
  • Help resolve conflicts in a constructive way.
  • Use symbols, ceremonies, rituals, and stories to build team identity.
  • Recruit competent new members for the team or organization.

For me, socializing with my co-workers is a very important part of my work.

Through socializing, I have found many things that I have in common with my co-workers:  parenting and children, travel, sports, older parents, musicals, running, marriage, cigars, food, home-ownership, and politics (just to name a few).

By being mindful of my coworkers and getting to know them, it creates a more respectful, trusting, and comfortable work environment.

Getting along with your coworkers, especially if you have boat loads of similarities, can sometimes be the easiest part of the workplace.

But what happens when conflicts arise (and they will)? How can you be mindful of your colleagues when you disagree?

Resolving Conflicts with Co-Workers through Mindfulness

For myself, resolving conflicts in a constructive way is more difficult for me.

Recently, I was upset about an incident that occurred at work and how one of my colleagues responded to that incident.

Since I had only been working there for less than 6 months, I decided to consult with my co-worker to make sure that my perceptions were valid. I was relieved to find out that she agreed with me. “Let’s talk to him right now,” she insisted.

Even I wouldn’t respond that way initially, I trusted my colleague and followed her lead.

When we sat down together to discuss the situation, each of us shared how we felt about what was happening. Our colleague understood how we could feel that way, based on our perception of the situation. He then gave us some context for the situation that helped us to understand his behavior.

We all came away from this meeting with a mutual, deeper understanding about the situation, and we strengthened our relationship with one another—this is a major benefit to practicing mindfulness at work.

So, what’s the big secret to getting along with your co-workers, through the good times and bad? It’s simple, really. Be mindful of who you work with and practice mindfulness in times of conflict.

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Now, over to you!

How are you attending to the relationships among your co-workers? What areas are easier for you? Which are more challenging?

Let us know in the comments below. I look forward to hearing from you.

Victor Manalo

Victor Manalo

Victor Manalo is the Dean of the Claremont Core at CLU. He teaches graduate courses in civic engagement, social welfare policy, practice, and research, human service agency administration, community organizing, and institutional racism. In his own community in the City of Artesia, California, he has served as a Member of the City Council since 2007 and is currently the Mayor.

Claremont Core

Claremont Lincoln University

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