In the proverbial world of business it's rare to find someone who is single. If you were to think of a Facebook status for your company, most of us it would have it set to "in a relationship." Sure, every now and then you might see "in an open relationship" or "it's complicated," but still, whether you realize it or not, you are in a relationship with the company you work for. Just like in our personal lives there are a few things that make our company relationships successful. However, keep in mind that this relationship is a two-way street. If you want to be able to get things then you must also be willing to give things. In the context of a business setting this means doing a good job.
Here are five things to keep in mind when trying to create a successful relationship with the company you work for.
Asking for what you want
If you want something out of the relationship with your company then you shouldn't be scared to ask for it. This applies to entry level employees or senior managers. You have to make sure that your needs are being met, regardless of what those needs may be. For some this might be getting more support for a project, for others this might be working a flexible schedule or perhaps asking about a raise. This doesn't mean you will always get what you want but you have to at least ask for it so that the people you work with know what's on your mind.
Having mutual respect
Respect is one of those tricky things. We can tell when we get it even though it might be a bit hard to describe it. Mutual respect means delivering on the things you commit to, showing up to the meetings you plan, asking how your co-workers are doing, not talking down to others, and helping people feel like you care about them. Of course all of these things apply to how others treat you as well. Nobody wants to be a part of an environment where mutual respect doesn't exist.
Ability to be vulnerable
People don't want to feel like they are working with machines. This means that it's important for us to be able to be vulnerable with each other at work. This can include feeling ok to ask for help, admitting when you don't know how to do something, or engaging in a candid career conversation. Imagine you are hanging out at home with your significant other and he or she says, "where is our relationship going?" If your response to that question is going to be something along the lines of "let's talk about this in a few weeks," "are you hungry?" "why do you always bring this up?" or if you just try to pretend like you didn't hear the question, then it's safe to say you're in a bit of trouble. So ask yourself, are you able to be vulnerable at work? Can you have open and honest conversations with your peers or managers?
Imagine being in a relationship where you're constantly in fear that your significant other is looking to find someone "better" than you. That's not really much of a relationship is it? You need to be in a relationship based on trust where both you and the company you work for are going to do your best to make things work. This doesn't mean that you will be together forever or that you are the perfect fit but it does mean that you will do your best during your time together. You don't want to feel like your company views you as and expendable cog and your company doesn't want you to just stick around for a few months and then leave. Do you have this level of trust with your company?
Leave when things are bad
Not every relationship is meant to be but it's important for us to realize when it's time to move on. Many of us are in abusive work relationships and we still stick around. We are talked down to, our managers don't show up for scheduled meetings, we don't credit for the work we do, we get transferred to other teams without notice, calls are frequently scheduled out of business hours, or we are constantly threatened with disciplinary action. None of these things are healthy. A bad relationship is something that either party can create. An employee can choose to "take advantage" of the company they work for or the company can treat the employee as a "cog." Regardless of who is at fault or why, it's crucial to end a relationship when things get bad. It's the best thing for both the company and the employee.
By keeping these five things in mind you are sure to have better relationships with the companies you work for (and with the people you surround yourself with in your personal life!)
Jacob Morgan is a futurist, best-selling author and keynote speaker, learn more by visiting The Future Organization.com or check out his latest book,"The Future of Work: Attract New Talent, Build Better Leaders and Create a Competitive Organization," on Amazon.