10 Don’ts That Will Help You Avoid Workplace Dysfunction

Difficult workplace relationships are far more than a nuisance, as they can cause anxiety, burnout, clinical depression and even physical illness. What’s more, highly toxic workplace affiliations can undermine your professional success and threaten your livelihood at large.

The bottom line is this: the right relationships can propel you to great heights of achievement; the wrong ones will tether you to mediocrity and mire you in disappointment. With this in mind, in striving for rewarding connections with others, it’s essential to evaluate relationships intelligently: What makes a great relationship? How do you keep a relationship great? What are the warning signs of trouble? While it’s so very easy to blame the other person in a distressed relationship, it’s far more effective to consider and assess the situation objectively and build your Relational IQ–the mindset that helps us to better understand and control our professional relationships to maximize happiness and realize life-changing success.

Relationships are an art, and most of us lack the skill and mastery to help break—or all together avoid—destructive patterns, disrespect, and deception. Far too many people also lack the ability to have productive connections with others—those that help you achieve goals, sharpen your mind, and generally uplift and enrich your life.  There are, in fact, fundamental principles for interacting with others in the complex and ever-changing dynamics of today’s culture that, if adhered to, can best assure relational success in business. Choose not to and suffer the consequences. Naysayers might ask, “Is it really possible to master relationships?” The answer is an unequivocal “yes”—if you’re willing to learn skills and proactively apply tactical techniques, that is.

To help kick-start your Relational IQ so that you can better navigate, and begin to master, your own professional affiliations, here are 10 pitfalls to avoid when seeking to develop and manage positive business relationships that will result in greater success and overall enjoyment in the work environment:

1.    Don’t hide: While secret identities might be fun in the movies, a person who harbors secrets, and hides their fears, and beliefs from others will never be able to enjoy an authentic relationship. Being real and authentic with others and even making yourself vulnerable from time to time can foster tremendous emotional connections, including all-important trust, and forge unbreakable bonds.

2.    Don’t tweak the truth. Studies show that 10-30% of applicants admit to “tweaking” their resumes—that’s certainly no way to start an engagement with a new employer.  Even small white lies will do nothing but undermine and compromise any relationship. Even slightly altering the truth is one of the most destructive forces that can permanently damage a personal or professional relationship. Keep your work relationships transparent and honest to build trust with your superiors, colleagues, and customers.

3.    Don’t rush and miss critical red flags. Understand that a relationship is a journey with changes in direction, twists and turns, and roadblocks along the way.  It’s imperative to pass through certain experiences and navigate through difficulties to learn from these situations and create a healthy outcome. Resist the desire to take shortcuts or race through certain aspects of a relationship. Even if it is painful or boring, embrace it, knowing that it offers a healthy purpose for the big picture of a relationship.

4.    Don’t force it. There’s an old R&B lyric that says, “If it don’t fit, don’t force it.” Despite the poor grammar, it is quite insightful in its simplicity. Relationships that create positive synergy through mutual respect and shared values are worth your investment.

5.    Don’t repeat the past. The past should not define a person, and there is no reason to keep looking back. While previous events and actions might be a life lesson, the nature of every journey is to move forward. Don’t repeat those actions that did not produce the intended results; instead, focus on new choices that will “effect” a more desirable outcome.

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