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Power of Friendship at Work

jumping friends.jpg

Work is hard. It is even harder when you have to do it alone. Of course you have co-workers and maybe the occasionally acquaintance you talk to every once in awhile, but is it possible to have friends at work? Not only is it possible, it is necessary. Many people succeed or fail based on the support they have from their friends at work.
In Tom Rath's book, Vital Friends: The People You Can't Afford to Live Without, his research shows that employees who have a best friend in the office are more productive, more likely to engage positively with customers, share new ideas and stay longer in a job. Simply put, doing your work with friends will make you happier and more efficient.
My goal is that this post will do two things:
1. Identify some key individuals in your work place that are vital to your success.
2. Identify the key attributes that a friend at work can provide and how you can reciprocate.

Behind the scenes there are people that work tirelessly to ensure you are able to do your job. Do you know them? Do you go out of your way to support them? Do these people want to help you and want you to succeed? These people include but are not limited to:

The janitorial staff

The IT guy 
The Trainer (if you are a coach)
Your partner, co-worker or assistant coach
When developing relationships with these essential people you will need to do the following:

  • Get to know their name(s)
  • Exchange contact information
  • Systematically go out of your way to ask them how they are doing personally
  • Find out how you can serve them
  • Know how to talk with them. This person is not your therapist – refrain from venting your sorrows and frustrations to him or her. Learn how to talk to each person or group. How do they communicate best?  
  • Meet them in their workplace or home turf and spend time with them
  • Take them to a meal and spend time together outside of work when appropriate.

Here are 6 key friendships at work that will help you with your mission at work and in life:

1. A Motivator/Coach

This person pushes you, inspires you, challenges you, and keeps you accountable.

2. A Partner

He or she works alongside you, shares interests and the workload.

3. A Therapist

This person listens to you, gives sound advice, and asks good challenging questions.

4. A Fan

He or she sings you praises, supports you, keeps you encouraged, and helps you keep the big vision in focus.

5. A Fraternity Brother

This person is your fun friend. You laugh with each other, play games, do recreational activities together (for fun and to blow off steam). Very little, serious conversation is needed.

6. Your Think Tank

This person brainstorms with you, shares your vision, helps you set strategic objectives, and keeps you grounded and calm.

Do you have these people in your life? Have you sought them out in your workplace? Chances are, they are there and waiting to help. What kind of person are you to those around you? Be friendly and have a positive work environment where you can call your coworkers your friends.

"Two are better than one: they get a good wage for their labor. If the one falls, the other will lift up his companion. Woe to the solitary man! For if he should fall, he has no one to lift him up. 
— Ecclesiastes 4:9-10


Common Mental Mistake #4: Productivity Without Results

Common Mental Mistake #4: Productivity Without Results

You are busy, but don’t feel productive. We have all been there. It’s not hard to confuse busyness with productivity.  It’s not hard to mistake activity for achievement. Consider the following of how you can identify this common mental mistake.

How to Lead with a Difficult Co-Worker

Have you ever been forced to work with someone that is difficult? You are expected to lead with this person who simply has no intention of being a good and effective leader. In fact, they stink.

-       They don’t share your vision.

-       They don’t share your values.

-       They lead (if at all) with a different style then you.

-       Sometimes it seems they are trying to sabotage you.

Remember group projects in school. They were the worst because you were expected to do all the work for everyone else. How do you lead someone that does not want to lead? This one incomprehensible, problematic, obstinate co-worker may very well be the reason for all your frustrations in life.

So what do you do? And what are your goals for taking the following actions?

Here are 7 ways to help

1.    Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

- Look in the mirror.

- Are you being difficult in your co-worker’s eyes?

- Are you showing humility? What is the source of your frustrations?

- Are you choosing your battles wisely? What are you willing to fight for and what can you let go?

Goal – Ensures you to be mentally and emotionally prepared for the tough situation of dealing with a difficult person.

2.    Learn Their Language

- Study your co-worker.  

- How do they communicate?

- Learn how to speak to them.

- Do they prefer text, phone calls, and/or emails? 

- When in doubt, ask them what they prefer.

- Start meetings by connecting with them at a personal level. For example,

ask about their family, favorite football team, movie they saw, etc.

Goal – Ensure no loss in translation. Understand what they are saying not just how they say it.

3.    Weekly Agenda Driven Meetings

- Write out an agreed upon agenda list prior to meeting.

- Email it out and ask for feedback before you meet.

- Meet once a week at the same time and same place.

- Take notes. Ask a lot of questions.

- Communicate expectations.

- Maintain a shared vision, shared values, and a healthy tone for the relationship.


Goal –Ensures your relationship will be intentional, Time with them will be short, and always professional.

4.    Keep Each Other Accountable

- Conclude each meeting with an agreed list of objectives or action items for each person.

- Be smart about how you assign objectives. You might need to take on items you don’t want to do for the sake of the project or program.

- Give your co-worker items they are gifted at or want to work on.

Goal – Ensures an environment that is healthy. Your co-worker will feel valued and appreciated.

5.    Create Systematic Progress Reports

-       After 2-3 meetings, create a report of your progress toward your desired goal.

-       Gather feedback from your co-worker. Ask for input.

-       Ask for his or her opinions about the next steps to take.

Goal – Ensures progress toward a desired end or goal.

6.    Watch Your Mouth

-       Never gossip about them to anyone. This will always come back to bite you.

-       Lift them up when appropriate.

-       Speak to others about what you value about them.

Goal – Ensures protection of sabotage from outside influences.

7.    Always be Professional

-       You don’t have to be friends.

-       Continue to delegate to your co-workers strengths.

-       Agendas will keep you on task.

-       You are always at work with this co-worker. Keep your guard up.

-       Conversations are professional and intentional.

-       Remember you are not their boss. You are probably a better leader, but a good leader works with hard people.

Goal – Ensures focus on the desired objectives and goals for the partnership. This co-worker will help you get there if you allow them to.

Do you like this list? Did I miss anything? Leave a comment below. 

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