Treating people well sounds pretty obvious, right? But, the reality is that employers, leaders, and even colleagues can fail to understand the importance of treating people well, and the short and long-term implications if you don’t!
What you deem as “treating people well” can vary from person to person
Interpersonal relationships can be complicated, particularly if you have different outlooks on how people should be treated in the workplace. We don’t claim to be experts at this, but here are some things that we try to live by on a day-to-day basis:
Assume the best in each situation
Especially with tough conversations or potential conflicts, it can be easy to put our guard up and assume that people we work with are negative or are simply seeing the worst in a situation. If you approach your interactions and assume the best, then not only can you communicate without ego, but you’ll also be able to look at things pragmatically and not through an emotional lens.
When you assume the best, there is more likely to be a positive outcome, thus a much easier conversation, too!
Never forget your manners
Please and thank you go a long way, and although the formalities of emailing can be abandoned if you’re using communication platforms like Slack or Teams, never forget the power of being polite and having good manners with everybody that you work with. Aside from the basics, take the time to check in with people and build rapport, as this can also ensure that you are being respectful towards others that you work with.
Try and communicate over the phone instead of over email
Specifically with challenging conversations, communicating on a call instead of over email can really help with relationship building, especially if your team works remotely or you get little face time during the week.
Communicating on the phone can help with the disparities that can often come across when texting, slacking, or emailing, and also enables you to have more of a human connection with others. As a leader, always think about how you’re communicating, and whether you’re choosing the best mode of communication — also.
Remember, they were you once (leaders especially)
If you’re a leader, it can be difficult sometimes, especially in challenging team situations, to see someone else’s point of view. Particularly if they’re junior, it takes less effort to cut someone off or dismiss what they’re saying, instead of sitting and listening. There is the famous phrase “people don’t leave bad companies, they leave bad managers” - and this is due to poor communication and also not being treated well.
Management and leadership aren’t for everybody, but try your best to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Not only will this improve your retention, but treating people well in your team will result in better performance, productivity, and overall happiness at work.
People will remember how you treated them
Whether they were managed by you, were simply a colleague, or had to interact with you in any way, people remember how they are treated by others, and you never know when you’ll run into someone again. Always keep this in mind, not only with people you work with on a day-to-day basis, but also with those you engage with externally, whether this is vendors, suppliers, or consultants.
Don’t burn bridges
No matter what, burning bridges doesn’t help either party in the long run. This doesn’t mean that you have to be fake and pretend to get along with someone, because the reality is that you will clash with people at some point in your professional career.
The important thing to remember is that you can have cordial relationships that are still respectable, even if you don’t like that individual as a person. As we’ve said before, people remember how you treat them, so don’t burn bridges - instead keep the relationship steady, and respectful, but also with distance.
The most successful people are the best networkers, and some of the most unsuspecting people in your life can help to create opportunities for you. As long as you approach your work with a humble and open mindset, and think about the above points - treating people well will start to be woven into the fabric of your day-to-day interactions.