Relationships at work – explain in order

Psychology of the team: the rules of relations with colleagues

Relationships in the team have a huge impact on the effectiveness of the work process – every competent manager knows this. For many, the work has long become a second home. That is why knowledge of the psychology of relations in the team plays an important role.

Each employee is unique, and has his own, sometimes complicated, character, preferences and wishes. So it is not surprising that there are often conflicts and quarrels within the team. How to avoid them and create an atmosphere of mutual understanding?

The social psychology of the team

The team at work is a social environment. It consists of many different people. They have different views on life, upbringing, goals for the future and abilities. However, they have to spend some time together and address common issues. Interaction in this case is a direct way to the success of the company.

A person learns to find common ground with the team from early childhood. First comes kindergarten, then school, then university and finally work. And each time you have to adapt to new people. However, this is not always easy to do. How often in adulthood, people quit their jobs because they did not get accustomed to the team. And such cases are not uncommon.

The relationship between colleagues can be demonstrated with a clear example. Let’s say a new employee came into the company – a young and beautiful girl. What will feel at this moment those who have been working here for a long time? Most likely, it will be interest and, at the same time, tension. The employee can be compared to a foreign body, which is in the stage of examination by the body (in this case, the team). She is being examined, studied, and evaluated.

People will react to the new person in different ways. Some people will like the girl for her professional and personal qualities. Others will be irritated and nervous. And in the first and second case, you will have to put up with a new employee, as teamwork depends on the coherent operation of the relationship in the team as a whole and the company.

Psychology at work and relations in the team

Section of psychology, which studies the relationship in the team, is considered the most difficult. And this is not surprising, because there is always misunderstanding between colleagues. There are several reasons for this state of affairs:

  • doubts about the professional qualities of the other person;
  • and the management’s foul play;
  • gossip and snitching.

Such problems occur in each team without exception. They can not only get rid of easily, but also wrap in their favor. This requires a minimal knowledge of the psychology of communication and relations with colleagues.

Types of relationships at work

Relationships with colleagues at work can be different. They are built on three main schemes, each of which has its own characteristics, advantages and disadvantages.

Psychology of equal or friendly relations

This is the closest communication. People praise each other, but will make a remark if necessary. This type of relationship is not suitable for the manager and someone on the staff. And there are reasons for this.

The friendship of the head and one of the members of the team distinguishes the latter from the rest. He occupies, if I may say so, a privileged position, which is certainly not to the liking of the rest. This is a direct path to conflict.

Psychology of relations between a senior and a junior (from the position of a senior)

This kind of relationship at work is divided into two subtypes:

  1. Mentor – apprentice. The first helps the second with advice, but does not supervise him or her in any way, much less participate in his or her work. An apprentice is unlikely to listen to advice if it comes directly from a boss who is poorly versed in work processes. A mentor, on the other hand, gives you the opportunity to improve and move in the right direction.
  2. The supervisor is the subordinate. The supervisor evaluates the work of the employees, controls it, and, if necessary, punishes or encourages it. Here we are not talking about a close relationship, because it will destroy discipline in the team.

Psychology of the attitude of the junior to the senior (from the position of the junior)

Like the previous type of relationship, this one is divided into subspecies:

  1. Subordinate – supervisor. The main task of the former is to treat responsibilities responsibly and follow the instructions of the latter. He also needs to respect the supervisor, no matter what he is like.
  2. Apprentice – mentor. The relationship in the team according to this type assumes that the first listens to the advice of the second. And not only listens to them, but thinks them over and tries to apply them in practice. If the student argues and refuses to listen to the mentor at work, he is not ready to learn. In this case, all conversation is useless.

Each of the above relationship development schemes provides an opportunity to build a healthy atmosphere and communication in the team.

Rules of good tone

Relationships at work with colleagues should be built according to a few simple rules. The first concerns friendliness. One should not be rude or boorish because of a bad mood. To be polite and grateful is not so difficult. These qualities dispose people.

However, you need to be careful here, because the close relationships in the team and informal communication can play a cruel joke. For example, a young employee will seem to the women of the team as a rival. The men because of her too loose behavior will think she is too windy and lose all respect.

The second rule is a logical extension of the first. You should not tell your work colleagues personal information about yourself. Good motives and trust easily turn into gossip, speculation and envy. It is enough to tell the proverbial minimum.

The third rule is consonant with the expression “don’t run ahead of the locomotive. Of course, it is good if the ability to do the job quickly and with high quality. However, the team consists of different people. Someone is working faster, someone, on the contrary, spends more time on the task. You shouldn’t try to correct or retrain your colleagues. They may take it as a challenge.

And finally, the fourth rule. It calls not to ignore the rituals and traditions of the team. Having meals and celebrations together will only improve the relationship.

Day One: Fatal Success

Relationships in the team at work largely depend on the first impression of an employee. He will have to pass a kind of test, the results of which will be based on its further communication with colleagues.

So, on the first day of work, you need to follow a number of simple recommendations:

  1. Dress as discreetly as possible, even if in life the style of dress can hardly be called modest.
  2. Do not forget the rules of etiquette. A minimum of a greeting and the words goodbye.
  3. Do not flirt with the representatives of the male sex. This will only spoil relations with them and with women.
  4. Do not argue trying to prove yourself right.
  5. Not to tell too much about yourself.
  6. Ask your colleagues for help if necessary.

It is not difficult to carry out the above tips. It’s enough just to relax and try to enjoy the work.

We are so different and yet we are together

Build a healthy relationship at work is not easy. All because each person is different. There are several types of employees:

  1. Angry or grumpy people. Unfriendly people who are always unhappy about something and easily lose their temper. Every word or reaction of others is an opportunity for them to vent their negativity. They have no desire to talk about good things.
  2. Envious people. Favorite occupation of such members of the team – to spread gossip, both at work and outside. They discuss everything from the new lipstick to professional activities. Such people are just bored. In communicating with them, you should avoid too frank stories about yourself and family.
  3. Rigid colleagues. Do not like changes. Even if the new is several times better than the old, they will not change anything. Relationships with such employees should be built on strict adherence to the established rules and instructions.
  4. Counselors. Constantly teaching others, right and left handing out advice. They are harmless. The worst thing their behavior leads to – a fight at work. Communicating with colleagues of this type, you need to take the initiative and ask for advice first.
  5. Pedants. React to the slightest inaccuracies and details. Moderate their ardor is quite easy. It is enough to shift some of the responsibilities that require a lot of attention and meticulousness.
  6. Artists. They like to be in the spotlight. Scandals at work for them are a way to boost their energy. A couple of compliments and attention will turn them from enemies into allies.

These are just a few types of employees. In fact, there are many more. And if you can’t find a way to build a relationship with them, you also need to look at yourself. Perhaps the problem lies in your character and actions.

What can provoke colleagues to conflict

According to books on psychology, healthy relationships in the team are sometimes at risk. There are many reasons for this:

  • Non-sociability, reluctance to make contact;
  • complaints and denunciation of colleagues;
  • bad moods, splashing out on others;
  • overconfidence in one’s own rightness and straightforwardness;
  • fear of overwork;
  • comparison of one’s former job with one’s present job;
  • excessive curiosity about coworkers;
  • loud conversations on the phone, an elevated tone in dealing with others, a strong perfume scent.

Another reason for possible conflict lies in workaholism. Sometimes the desire to perform quality work from the outside is perceived as a desire to curry favor with the leadership or to stand out from the crowd.

Relationships in the male team: setting priorities.

In men’s team, as well as in women’s, conflicts often occur. Prevent them in several ways:

  1. Always look flawless. The best clothes for work is a strict business suit.
  2. Superfluous attention from colleagues or even flirtatiousness surprises and puts you in a daze. There is no need to be rude in response. It is better to be silent or to move the conversation to another topic.
  3. It is worth remembering that every member of the team is an employee like all the others. Therefore, it is not nice to demand special treatment.
  4. Do not react to provocations too emotionally. It is important to remain calm even in cases where brought to emotion on purpose. Stamina is required here.

The most important thing is to show respect to all colleagues at work without exception. We can say that this is the key to a good relationship.

How to build a relationship after a conflict: tips from a psychologist

Knowledge of the psychology of relationships in the team at work is not a guarantee of the complete absence of conflict. What to do if there is one?

  1. Calm down, relax. Concentrate your thoughts on the good qualities of the provocateur or offender. This will help, if not to forget the situation, at least to return a good relationship.
  2. Look at the disputed situation from the outside. Through this you can control yourself, not allowing your opponent to upset the equilibrium and thus achieve what you want.

To disarm the person who plans to continue the conflict can be only with calmness and equilibrium. These qualities, together with a sober outlook, allow you to destroy all the intentions of the offender.

So, what are the relationships in the team? Usually difficult, because each person is formed as a personality. They all have their own views on life and what is happening around them. In the team there are counselors, provocateurs, envious, pedants and even artists. If you find an individual approach to each of them, the relationship will be harmonious and healthy.

Clarification of relations between employees

Conflict at work – a common thing and, as a rule, unpredictable. Everyone at least once, but got into an ambiguous situation. But out of it with a positive result is not for everyone. The conflict can cause dismissal, depression, nervousness. Despite this, it is hardly possible to ensure that employees stop figuring things out at work. If disagreements cannot be avoided, the company’s top management should identify the cause of the disputes and try to minimize their consequences.

If conflicts are not given proper attention they can have a negative impact on the psychological climate of the team and complicate the business processes of the company. Although, according to many psychologists and managers, disagreements at work can contribute both to the personal growth of the employee and the development of the company as a whole. By and large, the conflict may be of two types: industrial and personal. And sometimes it is not just difficult to distinguish them from each other, but actually impossible.

Who’s right – who’s wrong

Industrial conflicts are often inherent in the business model of the organization and in this sense are objective, that is, do not depend on the will of its participants. For example, a typical dispute between two departments found in many companies. The situation is aggravated when the industrial conflict becomes also personal. Gradually representatives of the parties begin to mix working and personal relations. Negotiations between “camps” are emotionally tense. Sometimes it turns out that it is much easier to agree with the company’s external counterparts than the organization’s departments with each other.

Another common cause of industrial conflict is the organization’s suboptimal business processes. If there is duplication of functions (employees perform the same work) or there are “gaps” (areas of uncertain responsibility), contradictions are simply inevitable. But you don’t have to be afraid of it. First of all, because such conflicts help to identify problem situations and contribute to the optimization of the organization. These disagreements can be resolved by the company itself or by inviting consultants. Often their role is to mediate between the conflicting parties, to help them find a compromise and agree on the rules of the game.

A disagreement of personalities

It is much more difficult to resolve a personal conflict. It all depends on the team and its particular representative. Not all employees are able to find common ground with each other. Of course, we can say that the head should hire people who are psychologically compatible with each other. But, unfortunately, when hiring employees, this issue is not given due attention.

The solution to such a conflict is in the hands of the employees themselves. And the winner is the one who can manage it constructively. Company management and HR-managers get involved in resolving the dispute only when it begins to negatively affect the results of the enterprise.

The director of the company or an HR manager may assume the role of a mediator, that is, someone who helps the parties to clarify their claims without emotional intensity, to find common ground, and to make possible steps towards each other. Sometimes it is necessary to admit that the dispute has gone so far that it is necessary to put the issue straight and part with the “instigator” of the conflict.


One organization director turned to professionals for help when a manager had built an extremely conflictual relationship with his team and had provoked a series of layoffs. The specialists evaluated it using the “360-degree” method. Information about person’s actions in real work situations and about his business qualities was received from his boss, colleagues, subordinates. This procedure showed the level of tension in the team, revealed demotivation, which comes to the rank-and-file employees, when the company by its inaction encourages the “conflict” leader to behave the way he considers possible. This procedure helped management correctly assess the situation and provide recommendations to the manager on how to properly build relationships in the team.

There are so many examples where it was personal conflicts with the supervisor that prevented the employee from performing at his or her best. There are even more cases when behind such contradictions one cannot see the real advantages of an employee.

Every cloud has a silver lining

Conflict – an unpleasant thing, but, nevertheless, from it you can get a lot of positive results.

First of all, any disagreement forces you to “open up” the problem. It is difficult not to agree that the silence of a disputed issue can have a more detrimental effect on the work than overt confrontation. Open conflict should try to channel it in a constructive direction.

Any contradiction allows you to denote their positions, to look at the problem alternatively. As practice shows, for managerial positions, conflict management is a direct obligation. And you can learn this only by personal experience.

But we should not forget that any quarrel becomes a cause of tension, it throws off the rut. Industrial conflicts can escalate into personal, to cope with which is much harder. Yes, and the benefit of the animosity of employees to each other is very doubtful. On the one hand, industrial conflicts are quite a working situation that can be used for the further development of the company. On the other hand, it can get out of control and lead to a dead-end.

It should also be remembered that personal friendly relations between the boss and the subordinate can also sometimes become a cause of a conflict situation. If a buddy-boss takes away a bonus, it is likely to be perceived as a personal insult as well.

Much in such a situation depends on the supervisor. How he puts himself in front of his subordinates, how he will behave. Either extreme will not lead to progress – either too much distance from the team, or too close.

The leader creates a corporate spirit in the company. He is taken as an example in behavior. He is always in the spotlight. It is from the leader (and he may be informal) depends on the atmosphere in the organization, starting with mini-collectives: separate departments, offices, in which sit five people. And all the way up to the company as a whole.

And the role that fell on the share of the leader is not an easy one. In addition to performing their functions, he must remember that his colleagues noticed his every move, from decision-making to the order on his desk. Moreover, subconsciously the leader’s actions are copied. And as a consequence, his behavior when a controversial situation arises directly affects the approaches to conflict resolution in the team.

New employee – new problem

Quite recently a new word appeared in Russian – mobbing (from the word – mob, crowd; crowd; horde), which characterizes one of the very common types of conflicts in a company. Mobbing is an irrational aggressive pressure from the collective on one employee. Especially often this situation arises in connection with the arrival of a new employee.

The reason for this can be various factors. First of all it is the unprofessionalism of the manager. The new co-worker needs an explanation of his duties, an explanation of the production process and directly his work. But first of all, he needs time to get used to the company. Bosses who do not understand this and demand results from the employee at once provoke all other employees to turn against their colleague. “The previous employee, at least poorly, but coped with his duties,” they think of the newcomer.

Employee envy may serve as another reason for aggressive pressure. This usually happens when a much younger and more promising person than his colleagues joins the company. Accordingly, his salary is higher, which generates envy.

A characteristic feature of mobbing is that no one defends the interests of an employee who encounters such a problem. Neither his colleagues, who are aggressive towards him, nor the management of the company, which does not always recognize such situations.

However, there are recognizable features of mobbing. For example, a large turnover of staff may be an indication not of the ineptitude of candidates for the position, but of the unsuitability of the manager.

An employee facing such a problem often needs advice on how to get out of such a situation. Experts’ opinions boil down to one thing: you need to quit. Preventing the collision with such a problem is very difficult. However, you can definitely say that if there are any doubts, it is better to start looking for a new job.

In order to competently manage a conflict, you need some knowledge in this area. In the absence of a culture of competent communication, both staff and managers need training. And the advice and recommendations of specialists can reduce the likelihood of conflicts to a minimum.

Time passes in vain.

As sociological studies show, the loss of working time as a result of business conflicts and post-conflict experience is about 15 percent, and labor productivity is reduced by 20 percent.

The 360-degree method

It is a method of personnel study by means of questionnaires based on each employee’s assessment of himself, his co-workers, subordinates and management on the key competences. Significant results are significant deviations of self-assessment from the average data given to an individual by other participants of the assessment process. The method of “360 degrees” makes it possible to identify groups of “friends” and “enemies” for each employee as well as to determine the presence of informal groups in the team and the degree of their tolerance towards each other.

“Conflict is important to anticipate in time. ”

Indeed, work without conflict is impossible. It is possible to find the pluses in any, even the most heated argument, if, of course-

of course, if the emotional background allows seeing it. An employee should not immediately quit when a conflict arises, whether it involves a strong dispute with a colleague or the rejection of an entire group.

Some people admit that they are not good at conflict resolution and happily hand the situation over to their bosses or HR-department. In essence, this is a rejection of one’s own role as a manager. The HR-department or top-management must be only consultants (if the conflict has not gone beyond the division). Decisions should be made by the manager, the tasks should also be set by him alone. What can the HR-manager or a colleague-boss do? Provide an “outside view” of the situation and the behavior of the participants, help in advance to develop skills for working with conflict, recall similar situations, provide psychological assistance (if he has the right to do so), give friendly advice, or simply help to relieve tension. Of course, a competent HR manager in many situations can himself completely extinguish the conflict to the benefit of the company. But this is the same way as typing documents for your secretary.

In addition to the personal characteristics of people and imperfections in the process of their work together, there are several other “risk factors”. First and foremost is the environment: a separate office, but passable; an office for 130 people; a crowd of outside visitors; ventilation from the “smoking room” or workshop. As with business processes and characters, risk factors can be taken into account in advance and employees’ reactions can be anticipated. Workplace conflict is often used for managerial purposes.

A manager’s top notch job is to track down risk areas and emerging conflicts in time and move them in a productive direction. He needs to alert the HR department to potential problems and ask them to follow up (unless the supervisor is relying on his peacemaker abilities even in the early stages of conflict development). Such foresight helps the supervisor himself not get bogged down in emotion. If most conflicts arise unexpectedly for the manager, then this is a reason to seriously think about his awareness of the work of his own department and the company in general.

Disagreements need to start working with even before they arise. Mini-conflicts arise and go out all the time in the office or workshop. If they flare up to the level of parallel divisions, top management or the company owner, it is undoubtedly a mistake on the part of the participants and their manager. It is not always the case that employees do not have the authority to resolve a conflict situation.

Conflict at the level of the organization and departments often helps improve business processes; at the level of communication between colleagues, it optimizes the division of authority and separates those who are really quietly annoying each other. It is an opportunity to see the potential of an employee or department.

In my opinion, there is no need to elevate every dispute to the rank of a conflict and every conflict to the rank of an organizational problem.

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