5 Keys to Establishing Meaningful and Fruitful Connections in the Workplace

Results are achieved when people come together and feel good about the connection.
5 Keys to Establishing Meaningful and Fruitful Connections in the Workplace
Image credit: Thomas Barwick | Getty Images
Contributor
Psychologist, Author, Speaker
6 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

There are several keys to being successful in the business world, with the most important being the establishment of trusted and dependable relationships. To connect well with others, you have to know yourself well enough to manage and utilize our unique motivations, quirks, downfalls and strengths. How can we establish the network of connections we desire if we have no clue what drives us and others from within?

We cannot reach the success we desire without first being the greatest manager of our own internal world. Once we are clear on how our own emotions operate we are more equipped to predict, work with and connect to the emotions of others. In my new book Success Equations: A Path to Living an Emotionally Wealthy Life every single equation is designed to build self-knowledge, making us the greatest expert on ourselves, which helps us to more deeply and successful connect with others.  

1. Know thyself.

To create and develop the relationships we crave to secure in the workplace we need to know how to work with and manage our own emotions. We must take time to analyze ourselves and identify the vulnerabilities and insecurities that may be holding us back.

Understanding and identifying these places in our own personalities is key to understanding what we need to change and work on to connect with others better. Personality is everything in business. If we have a cold, insensitive personality we may feel misunderstood, but we have no recourse if the people we work with or who work under us cannot stand us. We must be able to look in the mirror at the relationship skills which work for us and which don’t, and work hard to soften the edges of our personality where we run into conflict.

Personality conflicts push opportunities away. To lead ourselves successfully, it requires we establish a balance between driving hard and knowing when to pull back in relationships. If we do not know our own emotions we will not be able to effectively manage or predict the emotions of others.

Related: 5 Problem Employees and What You Can Do About Them

2. Mindfulness

Mindfulness essentially means awareness. If we are not aware of ourselves and the impact we have on others it will be difficult for us to establish the meaningful and supportive network we desire to create.

Most people are so self-focused in business they forget to think about how the way they operate may be holding them back from being even more successful. To be mindful we need to observe how others respond to us, especially in the face of conflict. What we have to realize is that even the most rational people when in conflict lose their capacity to think straight. In those moments we must maintain our composure. The best way to do this is listening. When we’re listening our mouth isn’t speaking. Listening allows us to think and to find solutions. Listening allows us to take our time because listening is about the other. It puts us in a proactive rather than a reactive state of mind.

Related: Are You Really Listening? 7 Barriers to Listening Effectively.

3. Understanding emotion

To effectively manage our emotions it takes self-examination. Emotions follow a logical pattern if we know how to look at them. Emotions rise and emotions fall. When we’re hijacked by a negative emotion we want to refrain from acting out at the peak of the emotional wave. This takes self-restraint. We must allow ourselves to come down from this reactive place so we can take some time to digest what is going on before we respond.

When we’re dealing with the intensity of a positive emotion we do not want to make irrational decisions at the peak of this wave either, just because we’re feeling great. Emotional management and establishing connections means we practice the art of looking beyond the intensity of the moment to the bigger picture and how that bigger picture impacts everyone, not just how it impacts us individually.

4. Utilizing emotion for connection.

Different emotions help us connect in different ways with different people. As we learn to navigate our own emotions it is easier to identify and work with the emotional states of our co-workers and superiors. All connection is based in emotion. Once we have identified the emotional patterns of our co-workers and superiors we can be more deliberate in utilizing what we have identified to establish deeper and more dependable working relationships with them. For instance, when we know another person’s emotional patterns we are better able to predict when we can push and when we need to give space, when we can step in and help and when we need to back off.

Related: 4 Reasons Why Empathy Is Good for Business

5. Using emotions to improve morale.

Emotions determine experience and perception. To proficiently manage our emotions and those of others, we must maintain morale by getting our co-workers and superiors to think less about themselves and more about the “team.”

Emotions are what get us incensed to move on anything. We must use our emotions to get our co-workers motivated and goal oriented. We can use our emotions to let them know how critical it is to work together as whole to get the bigger goals set out in front of us accomplished. The critical elements in creating morale are speed and adaptability -- the ability to move and make decisions faster than our co-workers so we can give them a clear idea of what the bigger picture looks like.

We can use our emotions to show what the rewards will be if the results are achieved. When this happens people come together and feel good about the connection. The best connections are established when working hard, working together, while also having fun. We want to use our emotions to bond with our team members and superiors as a way to make achieving goals a meaningful and impactful experience.  

More from Entrepreneur

Get heaping discounts to books you love delivered straight to your inbox. We’ll feature a different book each week and share exclusive deals you won’t find anywhere else.
Jumpstart Your Business. Entrepreneur Insider is your all-access pass to the skills, experts, and network you need to get your business off the ground—or take it to the next level.
Are you paying too much for business insurance? Do you have critical gaps in your coverage? Trust Entrepreneur to help you find out.

Latest on Entrepreneur