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why friendship and community at work is important for everyone

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Diana Reaves | Aug 20, 2018 | Photograph by: Raw Pixel

Ever feel disconnected or completely alone on the job?  Interested in building bridges and establishing healthy, fulfilling professional relationships?  More than likely, you have a bright, diverse community right outside of your personal office space.  Perhaps it’s time to reach out and discover the beauty, delight, talent, and knowledge in others.

First things first: I’m not talking about forming bonds via workplace gossip.  That’s a really false, unhealthy “element” of friendship and true community.  Harmful rumours and poisonous lies aren’t what you’re after.  You’ll find the most satisfaction in career relationships that embrace genuine diligence, focus, trust, cooperation, and positivity.

So, this advice goes out to all the strong, business-minded women who are trying to be responsible and centred.  You’re doing your best to finalise projects and to go above and beyond your role, but you’re simply missing that “work family” component.  You long to meet others, to understand them, to learn from them, and to even inspire them.


Gaining Confidence and Courage 

If you’re new to a line of work, be patient.  Don’t expect to get everything exactly perfect during your first couple of months.  Find a groove in your specific job, and then focus on building meaningful relationships with coworkers.  Give yourself time to adjust to the different pace and assignments.  Be kind, but don’t force too much too soon.

After you’re comfortable with tasks and schedules, make an effort to meet the professionals with whom you work.  Engage in a sincere sort of small talk at first and let them know that you’ve enjoyed finding the ropes in this fresh environment.  Explain that you look forward to getting to know them.  Remain positive and kind.  It takes courage to talk to a stranger, but trust that they will probably feel like family soon enough.

Ironically, if you’re in a leadership position, you may feel that it’s quite difficult to approach those who technically work “for” you.  Be confident, though.  Often, your team wants to make you happy and to do their absolute best for you.  Take time to talk with each coworker individually and assure them you care.  You’ll get to know more about them and their unique skill set.  This one-on-one kind of leadership approach creates a healthy, productive work atmosphere.


Effective Communication 

If you think you’ll work alongside people for years and never run into conflict or hardships, it’s time for you to shake hands with reality.  Difficulties and frustrations arise.  Anticipate them around tight deadlines or even during the beginning of new projects when stipulations and guidelines are fresh and perhaps underdeveloped.  An open, honest, patient voice and listening ear are usually needed and appreciated.

That listening bit is huge.  In fact, I say it’s the most important aspect of a relationship you may offer to another.  In a world of noise, so much calls out for our attention.  Sometimes, it’s nice to be heard.  If you aim to converse with and to get to know your colleagues, listen more than you speak, especially if you’re new to the team.  You will learn so much by remaining alert and keeping an open ear and mind.

Listening may seem like a rather passive step, but trust me: you’re actively building a foundation for healthy lines of communication.  In a place of business and/or service, it’s necessary to understand plans, concepts, tasks, and instructions.  Don’t be afraid to approach others for clarity.  Ask questions.  You might even solicit feedback on your work.  An honest opinion is valuable. Be open to hearing the truth, even if it means you have to revise or begin again.


Beyond Office Walls 

Sometimes, seeking help from a life coach, motivational speaker, or therapist might be best.  Don’t be ashamed of that.  It’s perfectly natural to share ideas and discuss possibilities with individuals outside of your particular line of work.  Just keep what’s supposed to be confidential to yourself, and find a way to share your communication troubles or setbacks with another.


Miss Independent specialises in helping women to make the transition from a stagnant occupation to a freeing and fruitful new business venture.  In particular, our Goodbye Day Job eCourse is designed to do just that.  Click here to learn more and to join the free VIP waitlist. 




Natalie Hughes founded Miss Independent in 2017, to educate and mentor women and help them make their best career and business decisions. Natalie is an experienced business woman and non-executive company director focused on organisational design, strategy, growth and innovation. Her goal is to help you think differently, work differently and feel in control of your own destiny.

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