A dear colleague of mine called me the other day. I hadn’t heard from her for almost a year because she had stopped speaking to me. I wasn’t sure what I had done. Well, I did have an inkling. I suspected that she may have felt I wasn’t supporting her at the level she desired.

For years we were each other’s cheerleaders. But that suddenly changed. We went from talking to each other on an almost-weekly basis to not speaking to each other at all. I was saddened by it, but I didn’t know how to smooth things over at the time. I assumed she was disappointed in my lack of support, but at the time, I was giving her what I had available.

When she called the other day, I immediately called her back and we had an amazing conversation about the job pressures we were feeling and the disappointments we had both faced over the years. We realized the problems we were discussing had NOTHING to do with our relationship of 17 years, and yet, we somehow let our career struggles get in the way of something that mattered so much to both of us.

This got me to thinking about how many work relationships we let fall to the wayside because of misunderstandings, assumptions, and a lack of communication. Looking back, I have let many work relationships end because of these reasons.

How many professional relationships have you let go? What has been the resulting impact on how you have done your work?

Collaboration is based entirely on relationships. So, what happens when professional relationships are damaged? How does the collaboration change? How do the interactions change? How does this impact the project? And, most importantly, how does all of this change affect our students?

The Rat Race Makes Us Blind

We all recognize the importance of healthy relationships with partners, spouses, children, siblings, parents, friends and other loved ones. But it’s just as vital to value our work relationships.

Only by creating a culture of teamwork and collaboration can positive changes be made. As a big bonus, strong relationships in the workplace increase morale, productivity, and job satisfaction.

It’s easy to understand this by reading a blog post, but why does it seem so hard to live this principle in real life? I think it’s because we all get so caught up in the rat race. We graduate from college and are immediately flung out into the “real world,” where we suddenly find ourselves in the rat race. We forget to value our relationships with others and focus exclusively on climbing that ladder, getting that next promotion, and on and on and on.

It’s Time to Reevaluate Your Professional Relationships

When you think about it, you most likely spend far more time with the people you work with than you do your friends and family. For this reason alone, you should want healthy relationships at work!

But you should also want them because your own success and the success of the students relies heavily on whether or not you are working within an environment that encourages honest communication and teamwork.

Relationships of all kinds have always been and will always be the foundation of humanity. How we interact with each other decides what we can accomplish and how quickly.

If you have professional relationships that are currently rocky or have, like mine, fallen by the wayside, I encourage you to heal these relationships for yourself, the other people, and the students you are serving.

“If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships – the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together, in the same world at peace. “

~ Franklin D. Roosevelt

Debra Y. Griffith

Dean of Student Equity and Success at West Valley Community College

Consultant | Speaker | Coach |Strategist |Trainer

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