TOPICS: Workplace friendship

Workplace friendship can have a profound impact on your career. A friend on the job can provide valuable feedback on your performance, act as a sounding board or be your column of support simply by being there. Most people get new jobs because their friends referred them. Striking workplace friendships is often instinctive. You may pick up good vibes from a cherry smile, a hearty handshake or a friendly nod. But are these enough to sustain a friendship? Is it not necessary to rekindle the flames or douse them as the need arises? What happens when professional competition presents itself as a challenge between two corporate friends?

Are you capable of handling workplace friendships? Where do you draw the line between friendship and professionalism? Workplace friendships that go sour can prove detrimental to a flourishing career. Workplace relationship combined with the fuel

of ambition, set in a corporate milieu where progress is a game of musical chair, strain the cooperative relationships between colleagues. It is, therefore, imperative that you know who your friends and enemies in the workplace are.

So, you should put friends through a test because your ‘friend’ could be that ‘enemy’ you cannot see. What you need most from your workplace friends are honesty, trustworthiness, reliability and confidentiality. If you have ‘friends’ who violate these tenets, then be warned that they may not to be your friends at all. One-way to test this is to mention something ‘in strictest confidence’ to a friend. If it comes back to you a week later through another source, that answers the question.

Look for inherent behaviors style in your colleagues. If someone in your group is instinctively helpful no matter who is in trouble, always comes to the rescue of the underdog, then he is the kind of person who will stand by you when everyone else is critical of you. It pays to observe people when they think no one is watching. It normally gives us insights into their behavioral patterns that can serve us in good stead, when it matters most. Because of the pros and cons of developing friendships at work, you have more at stake when deciding whether to enter into a workplace friendship. The right group of friends can be a great influence in your career.