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Maintaining Realationships with Your Colleagues

Published 4/29/2016

In today's episode, I'll talk with you about maintaining relationships with your colleagues!

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Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
Hey everyone and welcome to Developer Tea. My name is Jonathan Cutrell and in today's episode I'm going to be talking to you about maintaining relationships with your colleagues. One of the things I like to do on Developer Tea is try to help people understand how to move up in their career. Whether they are a brand new programmer, maybe they are a hobbyist programmer and they're looking to try to find a job or maybe they are a junior programmer and they're wanting to get to that senior level position. That is one of the things I really want to do on the show and so often the route that most people try to take to level up in their career is to learn some hard skill. For example they may be learning a programming language and then they may apply that programming language to create a project and this is an incredibly important step in the process. You want to increase your hard marketable skills because ultimately that's what we're doing right. We are creating code and that code is going to some kind of client or user and that's really what we need to be practicing as Developer To be able to level up in our careers. But there's more to your career path, there's more to leveling up on that career path than simply learning how to code in a new language. There's more to it than learning some extra math or learning how to optimize for a particular scenario. There's more to it than even learning about users or about psychology. It goes deeper than that and specifically this is something that is true in pretty much every field. A huge part of your career is about the relationships that you have with the people you work with. Let me say that again. One of the most important parts of your career is the relationships that you have with the people that you work with, your colleagues, most specifically for today's episode. So in today's episode I'm going to give you four things that are absolutely necessary to maintain those relationships with your colleagues. Four things that are absolutely necessary for you to be able to maintain relationships with your colleagues. These things can be applied in your personal life. They can also be applied with your client relationships because most of the practices that you instill for yourself when you're talking about professional relationships, those things carry out into your other relationships in life because really we're talking about how to people interact. Now there are some different dynamics between you and your colleagues and you and your buddies. There's some different dynamics between just people that you like hanging out with to do whatever you feel like doing in your free time and the people that you don't really have much of a choice to be around on a day-to-day basis. So I'm going to give you those four critical elements for maintaining a relationship in just a moment. Today's episode is not sponsored by anyone but that gives me the opportunity to invite you to be a sponsor of Developer Tea. If you want to reach thousands of developers and designers head over to spec.fm slash sponsors. That's where we keep all of our sponsor information and you can learn how to contact us about sponsoring Developer Teaas well as the other spec shows. We have a very large audience that listens to our shows on a weekly basis. So go and check it out spec.fm slash sponsors. If you are looking to reach developers, designers, the people who are in the digital creation space and we even have other people outside of the digital creation space. We have, for example, bank tellers that listen to Developer Tea. So that's a really cool thing and I'm honored that I have people who are not even doing development necessarily on a day-to-day basis listening to the show. And it's because of episodes just like this one. This episode is a universal kind of thing. The things that we're going to talk about today, you don't need to have programming knowledge to be able to understand why they make sense. So share this with somebody that you think it would be useful for. Don't just blindly share it with someone because I'm telling you to. Find somebody that you think would really benefit from this particular episode and share it with them. So let's talk about these four critical elements. The first critical element for any relationship is trust. The first critical element is trust. And the reason this is so important is because any relationship that doesn't have trust can be incredibly volatile. If you don't trust the other person, then you recognize the possibility that they could be edging on that line of enemy and friend. You know, they say that there's a thin line between enemies and friends. And when you have trust, that line gets a whole lot thicker, right? The less trust you have in the relationship, the thinner the line becomes between enemies and friends. And if you don't trust someone, then you think that they potentially are lying to you. And if they're lying to you, then they might have other motivations for lying to you, right? But if you do trust them, then you can take what they say at face value. You know where you stand with that person. Now it is possible to trust people who are not your friends. Let me say that again. It is possible to trust people who you don't have good relationships with. You can trust the word of someone that you don't necessarily want to be associated with. So trust is not the only factor for relationships. But I do want to break down trust a little bit and talk about what it means to be trustworthy. Well, first, to be trustworthy, you have to be dependable. You have to be dependable. You have to follow through on your commitments. Be where you said you would be when you said you would be there. If you can't make it in time, tell the people that are waiting on you. And this is true for any commitment that you make. If you make a commitment, follow through on it. Whether that's a meeting or if you say you're going to finish a task at a certain point in time, try your best to follow through with it. Don't blatantly lie to the people around you. That is not dependable. And it's very easy to do this wrong accidentally. It's very easy to be undependable accidentally. You do that by having good intentions, by having good intentions and overextending yourself. If you overextend yourself, you're having good intentions. You're saying that you want to be a good person. You want to be a trustworthy person, but you overextend yourself and you say you're going to be able to do one thing and you're unable to fulfill that commitment. So you are undependable even though your intentions were good. You're undependable even though your intentions were good. And now, even though I want to be able to trust you, even though your intentions were good, I can't. You're not trustworthy because you overextend yourself and I don't know how much of what you say you're going to be able to do, you're actually going to be able to do. So that first factor of trust is dependability. The second factor is honesty and communication. Honesty and communication. If you can't finish something on time, it's far better to be honest and upfront than to wait until the due date to tell that you're not done with that particular thing. Right? It is much better to be honest and upfront. Honesty is incredibly important. Consider your word, your bond. Don't make promises. You can't keep this. Obviously, related to dependability, be careful that you don't read this as don't make promises at all. Don't read it as that. You need to be making promises so that people know they can depend on you. It's important that you do make solid dependable commitments and follow through on them. Making no commitments may technically make you honest, but it's not going to get you very far if people can't depend on you to produce something. If you haven't built a track record, it's like building credit with your friends and your colleagues. If you never actually make commitments, then you can technically say that you never break commitments, but that doesn't make you any more trustworthy. I need to see a dependable, solid, built up track record of you doing what you said you would do. I'd much rather you have a very conservative estimate that you're willing to commit to than an overextended estimate or no estimate at all. Of course, we lumped in communication here with trust. We could go on and on about communication. There are entire books written about the nuances of communication. We can't really cover all that is necessary to cover in one episode or even in five episodes about communication because it is such a complex topic. Communication is an incredibly complex topic. We are going to try to cover all of that ground, but know that it is important that you focus on communication. We've talked about communication on the show in the past. I'll leave some links in the show notes so you can go back and listen to a few of those episodes because we dive into some of those nuances previously, but we don't have time and to cover it all in one episode. Be certain that you are spending some time and energy learning how to communicate well with your colleagues. Your critical factor number one for maintaining relationships with your colleagues is trust. Critical factor number two is creating routines and rituals. Creating routines and rituals. You may not have seen this one coming because it seems like a total departure from where we were headed when we were talking about trust, but creating routines provides some common ground and a point in history to return to together. If all you do is work together every day, you're not really creating something together. You're not really building your relationships necessarily, even if you're collaborating on your client work, for example, even if you're pair programming. This isn't necessarily creating a more stable relationship. You're just working on something together and that doesn't really provide much of a grip for that relationship to go back and have discussions about in the future. There's not really a point in time that you can go back and revisit together. That relationship becomes one-dimensional and you don't have any memories together. Routines are also something that is truly a product of your relationship. When you create a routine together, you're collaborating purely for the sake of the relationship. Think about that. When you create a routine with someone, when you have something that you do together that's not necessarily work related, when you create a routine, let's just say that you bring in donuts every other Thursday in the morning and you all sit down and have a donut 30 minutes before work together. These are very simple things and it may not sound like much, but you're creating, you're collaborating, you're building an idea and an environment together that otherwise wouldn't exist without your relationship. It's not bringing the company any money, right? It's not bringing in any new business. It simply exists in order to further those relationships and people appreciate when you further the relationship intentionally like this. So create routines and rituals that you follow together with your colleagues. That's number two. Number three, celebrate the good and encourage the potential in the other person. Come very closely to this one, celebrate the good and encourage the potential in the other person. When it comes to the workplace, it is easy to get competitive. A competition can be a healthy thing to a certain extent because it can often provide a positive energy boost. If you don't really have direction and you introduce competition, then you suddenly have a little bit of a direction. I'm incentive, however, when the competition impedes on your ability to advocate for your coworkers, that competition is putting a tight cap on your potential rather than multiplying it. Let me say that one more time. If your competition, if your level of competitiveness with your coworkers, if that impedes on your ability to advocate for them, in other words, if you no longer want the best for your colleagues because the competition has gotten the best of you, that competition is putting a tight cap on your potential as a company, as a group of developers, even as a two person team, a two person team of collaborators. It's putting a tight cap on the potential rather than multiplying it. If you ever find yourself hiding information from your coworkers, for example, that might help them become better at what they do, you might be creating a huge problem not only in your relationship with that person because once again, you've gone back to this trust issue when you're not being honest, you're not communicating, you're not advocating for this person. This could create a huge problem, not only in your relationship, but in the growth potential of your business as a whole. So instead, you need to celebrate and enable the growth of the people you work with, of those around you. And accept that sometimes the result of this is that other people may get a raise or a promotion before you do, or maybe they'll get a raise that you never get or a promotion that you never get. It's not the end of the world if that happens, but you are very unlikely to get a raise or a promotion by simply trying to hold someone else back so you can catch up. Okay? You don't want to hold other people back. That doesn't help you get a raise. By holding other people back, you're putting a cap on their potential and you may be putting a cap on the potential value that your team could create together. That doesn't help you get a raise. If you're putting a cap on the value, you're ultimately lowering the amount of money that's coming into your company. That's not going to help anyone get a raise. So even if you are totally a selfish person, right? Even if you are not concerned about furthering your relationship with other people, it's not a good idea to put the cap on someone else to hide information from them because ultimately them creating value in the company gives the company more of an opportunity to provide raises to everyone. So especially if you are looking to maintain good relationships with your colleagues, don't try to hold them down. Celebrate and enable the growth of those around you. Celebrate and enable the growth of those around you. Encourage their potential. Encourage them to look towards the future and learn new things. Try out new things, become better programmers, become better people. Encourage them to listen to things like Developer Tea to develop their soft skills. Advocate for your coworkers and celebrate and encourage their growth. That's, that is number three. Celebrate the good and encourage the potential in the other person. Number four, finally, is simply to be meek and mindful. Meek and mindful. If you've never heard the word meek, it means quite simply to be soft spoken. This doesn't mean necessarily that you have to have a quiet voice. You shouldn't take this literally. Being meek means thinking about what you're saying, being mindful means understanding the situation and providing yourself some context, not being too quick to speak, for example. Don't be too quick when you're providing critical feedback. Don't just say the first thing that comes to mind because the words you say to the people around you are way more powerful than they feel coming out of your mouth. Let me say that one more time. The words that enter the ears of the people around you are way more powerful than they feel exiting your mouth. If you say something that is seemingly a joke that comes off as harsh, that may have long term consequences with your relationship with that colleague. Think about the words you're saying. Be meek and mindful. Don't be quick to speak, particularly when you are critiquing someone else's work, or when you're talking to another coworker about their performance or about an idea that they have. Most often, you will learn more by listening than you will learn by talking. In fact, almost every single time you're going to learn more and increase your relational capital with another person by listening to what they have to say than by talking. We're going to round out these four critical elements with a quote from one of my favorite writers on the subject of relationships, Dale Carnegie. He's kind of considered one of the experts on this idea. He wrote, How to Win Friends and Influence People a long time ago, almost a hundred years ago at this point. He said, You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you. One more time Mr. You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you. If you've ever tried this out, you know that this is absolutely true. Every minute you spend listening is worth exponentially more than the minutes you spend talking if you're trying to build relationship with that other person. Thank you so much for listening to Developer Tea. And thank you again to all of our wonderful sponsors. Once again, today's episode was not sponsored. But if you are interested in sponsoring Developer Tea, we have some open slots. Go and check it out, spec.fm slash sponsors, spec.fm slash sponsors. Of course, the links will be in the show notes, but those are already on spec.fm. So go straight to spec.fm slash sponsors if you are interested in sponsoring Developer Teaor any other show on the spec network. You can make sure you don't miss out on any future episodes of Developer Teaby going and subscribing and whatever podcasting app you use. All over the place now, Developer Tea is on Google Play, where in iTunes, where in Stitcher, where pretty much everywhere. So make sure you subscribe in this place so you can get the episodes automatically delivered to your device. It will send you an alert whenever we post a new episode. Thanks so much for listening to Developer Tea and until next time, enjoy your tea.