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As every company knows, employees are its greatest

resource. It's more than a shame, then, that many workers are
either not encouraged or afraid to speak up and not able to
communicate ideas at work due to their personal differences or
lack of proper understanding between colleagues or even
management. Employers are losing valuable knowledge and
experience, and their companies are weaker for that loss.
Interpersonal relationships have been shown to be an
important component of the psychosocial work environment
that may affect health, job satisfaction, and productivity.

Interpersonal relationships are social associations, connections,

or affiliations between two or more people. We define types of
interpersonal relationships in terms of relational contexts of
interaction and the types of expectations that communicators
have of one another to participate in positive, caring, and
respectful relationships. It makes and keeps friendly relations
and also ends relationship constructively.


Figure 1:

Figure 2:


As seen in Figure 1, a man is in trouble having practically no

means to escape as he is all tied up. But due to his effective
and efficient interpersonal skills he made his enemy, the lion to
do exactly what he wanted him to do!!! He starts singing happy
birthday song and the lion all excited blows the candle. This
eventually burns the rope and the man escapes.

Moral: Even in the worst situation with the power of effective

interpersonal skill one can make the situation favourable which
otherwise would not have been possible.


Relationships at workplace are different from those that we
create and develop in our day to day life. Just like our personal
relations, our professional relations are also based on trust,
faith, and respect. Both types of relations require investment of
time. However, basic differences between our personal and
professional relations are as follows:
1. Relations at workplace are time-bound and can or cannot be
permanent or long-term based.
2. Though based on common vision and focused on similar
goals, relations at work-place require one to be competitive and
sometimes even compete with one another to stay ahead.

3. There can only be a possibility of mutual trust, faith and
respect and it cannot be one-sided.
4. People involved in workplace relations should have High
Emotional Quotient and should be able to differentiate between
personal and professional emotions.

Based on above definitions of Interpersonal relationship, the

scope of Interpersonal relationship can easily been delineated
as follows:

• Labour relations, i.e., relations between labour union and


• Employer-employee relations i.e. relations between

management and

• The role of various parties viz, employers, employees, in

interpersonal relations.

• The mechanism of handling conflicts between employers

and employees, in case conflicts arise.

The main aspects of interpersonal relations can be

identified can be
identified as follows:

• Promotion and development of healthy labour-
management relations.

• Maintenance of industrial peace and avoidance of

industrial strife.

• Development and growth of industrial democracy.


The primary objective of interpersonal relationship is to

maintain and develop good and healthy relations between
employees and employers or operatives and management. The
same is sub- divided into other objectives. Thus, the objectives
of Interpersonal relationship are designed to:

 Establish and foster sound relationship between workers and

management by safeguarding their interests.
 Avoid industrial conflict and strikes by developing mutuality
among the interests of concerned parties.
 Keep, as far as possible, strikes, lockouts and gheraos at bay
by enhancing the economic status of workers.
 Provide an opportunity to the workers to participate in
management and decision making process.

 Raise productivity into organisation to curb the employee
turnover and absenteeism.
 Establish and nurse industrial democracy based on labour
partnership in the sharing of profits and of managerial


Types of relations that can exist at workplace are:
a) Employer-Employee
b) Manager-Subordinate (or rather Head – Subordinate)
c) Colleagues
d) Employee – Internal Service Provider (Finance, HR etc)
e) Employee – External
Positive workplace relations rely on three skills:
1. Having a good understanding of the person (people) that you
have relations with;
2. Seeking first to understand others and then to be understood
(Empathetic Listening); and
3. Using positive communication strategies.
Good Understanding

Having a good understanding of others helps us adjust our

behaviour to be able to get along well with them, thereby
building good rapport. Understanding someone's uniqueness
can be accomplished by having

awareness that people have different personality behavioral
styles. Each of
these styles has distinct, predictable and observable behaviour
Once you understand these personality styles, you will have the
ability to get
along with almost anyone. Personality style studies have been
around for
years. There are several modalities, however the one chosen is
that of Dr.
Tony Alessandra, where four dominant behavioral styles are
Socializer, Thinker or Relator1. If we take the advice of Dr.
Alessandra, we
can adopt a rule more superior to the old golden rule, namely
the Platinum
Rule. It says, "Do unto Others as They Would Have You Do unto
Them", or
more simply stated "Treat Others as They Wish to Be Treated".

Once you learn about the characteristics of each dominant

personality style,
you can quickly learn to read the person with whom you are
dealing, and
make minor adjustments to your own behaviour to relate better
with that
person. For example, a Director style is very direct and to the
point in their

communication. Their key desire is results. So if we approach a
Director in a
conversation to request money for our budget, we should use a
strategy of
being direct and showing them how giving us the money would
benefit the
bottom line results. I.e. "Bob, I need another $5,000 by Friday
to ensure that
we have the infrastructure in place to accommodate the large
volume of
sales projected by our sales department." Short, sweet, and to
the point,
indicating the results with the request - just as a Director wants
to hear it.
We are in a much better opportunity of being successful with
our request if
we meet our audience on their personality style turf, even
though we may be
of a different personality style. This is more positive, more
productive and
much more profitable. Try it! First you will need to learn more
personality styles, however as you learn to listen for clues from
other people,
the better trained you will become at reading people before
engaging in
conversation. This leads us into the next step to good relations
- Empathic


Empathetic Listening

"The dialogue of the deaf", as described by Dr. Stephen Covey

in 7 Habits of
Highly Effective People, indicates that most of the time we
don't communicate, we just take turns talking. Since the basic
need of a human being is the need to be understood, listening
is more important than talking when in conversation with
someone. Real empathic listening means that you are doing
more than hearing someone's words. It means that you seek to
understand what they are saying and will provide feedback
once you have heard what they are telling you. This ensures
that you understand what has been said and that the person
speaking feels like they have been understood. When we feel
that we have been understood, we are likely to feel better
about the relationship, resulting in more productive relations.
The next time you have an opportunity to communicate with
someone, tell him or her that you would like to listen to them
first, giving you the opportunity to gain a good understanding
of what they are communicating to you. Once you offer
feedback to what you have heard, and the speaker feels that
they have been understood, you will be in a good position to
begin the final step of building strong and positive relations -
Positive Communication.

Positive Communication

Positive communication is productive because it fosters some
of the key
fundamentals of successful workplace relations including, trust,
integrity, nurturing, productivity, and satisfaction. At this point
in your
communication with someone you would have an
understanding of their
personality style, and have empathically listened to them
making them feel
that they have been understood. Forming positive messages is
more attainable when you can 'begin with the end in mind',
meaning you have an idea in your mind of what the positive
relationship would look like. Once you have this goal of the
communication in mind you are in a better opportunity to attain
that goal. Strategies recommended for positive relations
include making the other person feel good about themselves
and their contribution.
People feel good about their employment when they are
recognized in a positive and genuine way. Therefore, positive
communication can start with a genuine compliment and carry
forward from there. We should use the "sandwich technique"
when communicating something that is constructive, which
sandwiches the constructive criticism between two genuine
positive statements. See an explanation of 'The Sandwich
Technique' in an article "It's what you Say and How You Say

To recap, these positive workplace relations techniques -
understanding who it is you are communicating with,
empathically listening to them first, and returning some
positive communication - your relations are sure to be more
positive, productive and profitable. Although these points are
pretty much common sense, they are not necessarily common
practice. Make a conscious effort to put them into play in your
workplace and your personal life, and reap the benefits that
strong and positive relationships have to offer.


 Reduction in Industrial Disputes – Good interpersonal

relationship reduces the industrial disputes. Disputes are
reflections of the failure of basic human urges or motivations to
secure adequate satisfaction or expression which are fully
cured by good interpersonal relationship. Strikes, lockouts, go-
slow tactics, gherao and grievances are some of the reflections
of industrial unrest which do not spring up in an atmosphere of
industrial peace. It helps promoting co-operation and increasing
 High morale – Good interpersonal relations improve the
morale of the employees. Employees work with great zeal with
the feeling in mind that the interest of employer and employees
is one and the same, i.e. to increase production. Every
employee feels that he is a co-owner of the gains of industry.
The employer in his turn must realize that the gains of industry
are not for him alone but they should be shared equally and

generously with his employees. In other words, complete unity
of thought and action is the main achievement of interpersonal
relationship. It increases the place of employees in the society
their ego is satisfied. It naturally affects production because
mighty cooperative efforts alone can produce great results.
 Mental Revolution – The main object of interpersonal relation
is a complete mental revolution of workers and employees. The
industrial peace lies ultimately in a transformed outlook on the
part of both. It is the business of leadership in the ranks of
workers and employees to work out a new relationship in
consonance with a spirit of true democracy. Both should think
themselves as partners of the industry and the role of workers
in such a partnership should be recognized. On the other hand,
workers must recognize employer’s authority. It will naturally
have impact on production because they recognize the interest
of each other.
 Reduced Wastage – Good interpersonal relations are
maintained on the basis of cooperation and recognition of each
other. It will help increase production. Wastages of man,
material and machines are reduced to the minimum and thus
national interest is protected.
Thus, it is evident that good interpersonal relations is the basis
of higher production with minimum cost and higher profits. It
also results in increased efficiency of workers. New and new
projects may be introduced for the welfare of the workers and
to promote the morale of the people at work. An economy
organized for planned production and distribution, aiming at

the realization of social justice and welfare of the massage can
function effectively only in an atmosphere of industrial peace. If
the twin objectives of rapid national development and
increased social justice are to be achieved, there must be
harmonious relationship between management and labor.



These include, among others, the following

· The morale of the employees becomes low: Disagreement
among employees over certain work proposals affects the
morale. This affects their attitude towards work. As a result,
they are not able to work with interest and commitment.
· Productivity gets affected: When employees have low morale,
their level of performance will also be low. This affects
· Team work and cooperation may deteriorate: In view of
disagreement between the employees they are not able to
work with proper understanding and cooperation.
· There is decline in the level of efficiency: As the employees
are thinking about the disputes among each other all the time,
they may not be able to concentrate in their work. This leads to
decline in the level of efficiency.
· When not resolved conflicts may turn into disputes: Conflicts
are a regular feature of an organization. But a conflict has to be
resolved within a time frame. If it is allowed to remain without a
solution for long, it may certainly turn into a dispute and

require the help of a mediator. The labour courts may also have
to be approached sometimes.

It has been noted that lack of trust in relations at workplace

costs very dearly
to the company and the loss cannot be comprehended in
figures. Lack of trust prolongs the decision making process. It
also complicates the communication process. Trust in relations
also affects the motivation and morale of parties involved.
Hence, what are those factors that help to build mutual trust
between relation at workplace and what factors deteriorates
that trust? What is the beginning of that trust? What one should
do to keep that trust? What are the remedies when that trust is
broken? All these points should be remembered for the efficient
performance of employees and enhance their productivity.