Relationships at work would not be so bad if it wasn’t for the people. Well, maybe not bad. Frustrating is more like it.
We have all heard the stories about the inconsiderate knucklehead in the cubicle next door, who speaks with great volume and regularity to everyone on everything. Then there’s the boss who acts as if he has to pay for each word he speaks, whose sphinx-like silence is only punctuated by his next request to you, delivered with Joe Friday economy of emotion. Or the drama queen, whose everyday life unfolds with more twists and turns than the chase scene in The French Connection.
You tell yourself that you have had enough of this noise, and intend to get out of this chicken outfit as soon as the job market improves. Only to find more annoying chickens in the next coop. Fear not, intrepid employee, there is a sure-fire strategy to minimize the pain of your relationships at work. Work harder at them.
Face it, we are all weird, or should I say “wired” in our own way. The problem is, we assume that our wiring is right and the more different that someone else’s wiring is from ours, the “wronger” they become. We ascribe motivation for why people are different than us, rather than accept them for who they are and how they are wired. The greater the difference, the greater the capacity for misunderstanding.
Improve your relationships by accepting, maybe even embracing the differences. Know that the chatterbox in the cubicle next door processes information via conversation with others. That your boss may be an introvert that is working hard to be more comfortable around the people he needs to manage. The drama queen lives in a world governed by the quality of her relationships. They are all neither right, nor wrong, they just are. Like you and me, works in progress.
If you want to be happy in your space at work, start by giving more grace at work.