Just being friendly can change the entire workplace atmosphere and lay the foundation for effective communication. It doesn’t mean you have to be your employees’ best friend, lend them money, ignore poor performance and let them do what they want. It does mean that you are conscious of small gestures and appropriate words that make a noticeable difference.
If you tend to be one of those unpleasant people, start your day the night before with a good night’s rest. Low energy levels due to lack of sleep and poor nutrition promotes a repressed demeanor that will affect not only your relationships but also your ability to perform at peak levels. When you are tired your whole outlook is compromised and you don’t have the resources to exert a friendly personality.
- Begin your day with some inspirational reading or reflect on the positive things in your life. Maintaining positive energy is both physiological as well as mental. Choosing the thoughts that will carry you through the day is a smart way to avoid negativity. People will notice the difference in your countenance if you have more positive thoughts versus negative thoughts when interacting with them.
- Greet people with a pleasant word. Don’t start off with a problem that needs to be solved. Otherwise you put people on the defensive and drain their enthusiasm.
- Look them in the eyes when talking so they know you are listening. You communicate a lot through your eyes and people can read your attitude by the way you look at them.
- Avoid sarcastic remarks or “zingers” that you think are funny but could offend someone. You want people to enjoy talking with you rather than resent every word you say.
- Don’t waste people’s time by being late for appointments. Respect their time and relieve them of the frustrations caused by your tardiness.
- Apologize when you make mistakes. We all make them and acknowledging them when they occur tells people you know you are human.
- Control emotional outbursts when things go wrong. Only attack problems, never people. Problems can be fixed easier than your employee’s self esteem.
- Show an interest in people’s hobbies, anniversaries, birthdays or outside work interests. These don’t have to be long conversations but they show employees you are interested in them as people.
It doesn’t cost anything to be friendly but it pays big dividends in the work place.