Friendship month: How five friendship best practices make for business best practices
February’s focus as Friendship Month provides an opportunity to extend human-to-human best practices to our business relationships, including our relationships with colleagues and clients. So many of the same tenets we uphold in relationships outside the office prepare us for effective communication in our work.
Here are five friendship best practices to bring to the office:
Give your best: In friendship, we tend to go above and beyond, and that should be the case at work too. Giving our best effort in the workplace doesn’t just reflect on our own performance; it contributes to the overall effectiveness of the team. Recognizing that our roles as individuals impact our co-workers’ work-lives helps us see our co-workers as human beings, worthy of our support and our collaboration.
Be loyal: Just as you would expect loyalty from friends and business partners, offer it. Treat others as you would like to be treated, especially when it comes to news, personal stories and prioritizing others’ needs. Confidentiality is expected with client relationships, but the unspoken part you won’t find spelled out in a contract is respect for others’ privacy – just what we would all want and expect of our friends, too.
Extend empathy: No one is perfect. Giving grace to others in the workplace opens the door for new solutions. Recognize the vulnerability often required for a person to tell their story or admit they need help with a business problem. Listen with empathy before considering other possibilities.
Choose how to be helpful: Solving every possible challenge is not in any individual’s wheelhouse. Showing up and working within your lane of expertise is crucial, but identifying and suggesting more specialized help can be impactful. Pinpoint where you can help and create a specific effort to achieve a desired outcome, just as you would with a friend in need.
Follow up: Check in and ask what’s next. If you haven’t heard from a work colleague with whom you normally communicate, reach out. , Send them a helpful link, a quick hello or schedule to meet. Taking the initiative to move conversations forward can be valuable, especially when people need support but don’t have time to ask for it.
Friendships have a way of coming full circle and giving back. Be the friend you wish you had, at work and in life. You’ll be glad you did.