The Top 3 Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making with People at Work

By Jennifer Albrecht coworkersWith everything that we need to accomplish on a daily basis, it’s easy to forget how crucial it is to spend time each day strengthening relationships across our network. Like you, I didn’t get to pick everyone I work with, and like you, I often need things from people who don’t report to me.  When we put our time, attention and intention on developing stronger relationships at work, work, is much easier.

In her book Fierce Conversations, Susan Scott reminds us that relationships are built or damaged the same way trust is, one conversation at a time. Unfortunately, many of us miss these opportunities to cultivate trust, and build relationships because we make little mistakes that actually damage them.

Mistake #1: Hiding Behind the Computer

When we use email as a primary mode of communication our relationships can suffer. Consider using email as a reporting tool and express concerns in person, or over the phone.

Mistake #2: Kneejerk Negativity

When we regularly respond to requests with an immediate “no” or “can’t”, we set the tone that we are unwilling to help. Remember, when we say “can’t” people hear “won’t”. Replace kneejerk negativity with inquiry. Listen and ask questions to determine the other person’s needs, and then emphasize what you can do, and when you can meet their request.

Mistake #3: Finger pointing from the Past

When we dwell on what's wrong now or what was wrong in the past, and blame others for our situation we give our power away and miss opportunities for innovation and collaboration. Resist the urge to focus on the past, and instead stay in the present and explore solutions.

Remember, relationship building is about being a positive factor in someone else’s life.  Each day presents us with nothing but opportunities to grow, learn, change and practice different behaviors, at work and at home. To learn more strategies to build strong relationships register for our 45 minute webinar on the topic; admission is free, and space is limited.


Jennifer Albrecht, Vice President of Professional Development, has been teaching and consulting with Learn iT! since 1997. Since joining Learn iT!, Jennifer has built and facilitated all of Learn iT!’s Professional Development classes including Communication, Leadership, Negotiating and Decision Making.

Jennifer strongly believes in Learn iT!’s 8 Step Model for Learning and applies it in all of the classes she builds and facilitates. Further information on the 8 Step Model can be found here.