“I don’t have to like them to work with them”. Have you ever heard this statement? Maybe you have found yourself saying it. I said this myself at one point. I have come to regard this statement as a cop out statement. Please hear me out if you are one who has used it. Though on the surface the sentence sounds correct, when you dissect it, it is missing some pieces. Will you enjoy your work as well if you do not like who it is you work with? Will your work be as productive? The answers to the two questions are obvious…no!
Relationships are hard work. It becomes harder work when there are aspects of your co-workers that you disagree with or dislike. Some of the work is committing to values you espouse like dignity, respect, honesty, or kindness. When I treat people with those words, I tend to get those values displayed back to me and in turn appreciate the reciprocal nature of a healthy relationship. I may not agree with certain aspects of a person, but I will like working with them when treated with dignity, respect and other values. It doesn’t mean we will hang out outside of work, but it will increase the likelihood that I will enjoy work more.
Over the course of my working career there have been a couple windows of time where I felt all my working relationships were healthy. Every single one of them. They have been periods I fondly remember because I wanted to be at work. I wanted to work with my co-workers. Finally, they are the periods in my life when I felt I produced my best work, grew the most and made the biggest impacts in a positive way in the lives of other people.
Harold Kushner wrote in his book When All You’ve Ever Wanted Isn’t Enough, “A life without people, without the same people day after day, people who belong to us, who will be there for us, people who need us and whom we need in return, may be rich in other things, but in human terms, it is no life at all.” In “other things” I am not a rich man, but in human terms thanks to my relationships, it is the life I want to be living today, with the people I am honored to call my family, co-workers and friends. I hope your hard work in your relationships is paying off as well!
Tim Geels – Senior Vice President of Instruction and Corporate Implementation