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4 Techniques For Developing Mindful Working Relationships

When your coworkers become fixtures in the office and you lose the spark to connect, try these tips for engaging at work.

4 Techniques For Developing Mindful Working Relationships
[Photo: Flickr user Dave Fayram]

What makes a great working relationship great?

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Between us, there’s an answer. This doesn’t just mean that we are more likely to find a solution to our working challenges if we work with other people than if we work against them. It also means that none of us individually has the answer, especially when we think we do. The only solutions that will really work out for us, and others, are those that don’t belong to any of us. Really workable solutions arise only in the silent space that none of us owns, that exists silently between us.

When we each get off our righteous working platform, we can be free to see what the best outcome really is and not just what we think it is or would like it to be. The best working relationship is the same as the best any other kind of relationship: no relationship.

The idea that the best form of anything can be no form of it might sound strange, but this is actually our natural life state, which mindfulness can help us to reach. Life is richest when it isn’t limited by the small print of conditions or ideas, when it’s just life. We live best when we just live, and we work best when we just work, and this means working in such a natural state of flow with our fellow workers that we aren’t even aware of having a relationship with them because we are flowing together.

A key part of all of our lives is our relationships with other people, and this is particularly true of our working lives. How well we work with other people–whether they are technically above us or below us or on a par with us in our working pecking order–will have a huge effect on how happy, fulfilled, and productive we and our working partners will be.

Here are a few ways we can work mindfully and therefore productively, happily, and harmoniously with all of the people we work with–our employees, employers, and fellow working travelers.

1. Work For And With Other People, Not Against Them

Whether we realize it or not we are part of a much greater reality than our individual selves and working with and for other people can be the best way to realize this. We don’t need to conduct office romances to work with other people in a state of optimal co-operation and unity! Being mindful helps us flow with the people we work with rather than constantly collide with them.

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2. Connect With People By Really Listening To What They Say

Work works best if we work with others so seamlessly and naturally that it doesn’t seem like work. When we are mindful we naturally create enjoyable and productive working relationships simply by listening to what they rather than to what we think.

3. Meet People At Work As If Meeting Them For The First Time

When we are mindful we fully connect with the people we work with and for because we are free of our ideas about who they are and how they will act. When we are mindful we give the people we work with and for the opportunity to surprise us, by doing something more valuable than what we thought they would do.

4. Work With Other People As You Would Like To Live With Them

A key part of all of our lives is our relationships with other people, and this is particularly true of our working lives. How well we work with other people–whether they are technically above us or below us or on a par with us in our working pecking order–will have a huge effect on how happy, fulfilled and productive we and also our working partners will be.

Being mindful helps us live and work wonderfully well with other people because it connects us with who they and we really are–part of a working human whole.

This article is excerpted from Mindfulness at Work: How to Avoid Stress, Achieve More, and Enjoy Life! by Stephen McKenzie (Career Press, September 2014)

Dr. Stephen McKenzie has spent more than 20 years researching and teaching a broad range of topics, including depression, dementia, substance abuse, and most recently, mindfulness. Dr. McKenzie has a unique ability as a lecturer, researcher, and writer to present potentially complex information in a warm, engaging, and entertaining way. He is coauthor of the highly successful Mindfulness for Life.

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