Managing Work Relationships

When I had recently entered the world of work, my father advised me not to create a habit of after-work ‘limes’ with co-workers. He believed it would be in my best interest long term.
We’ve all heard of work affairs at some point in our lives and the difficulties brought about by these alliances when they go awry. Well of course I know that most co-worker ‘limes’ are generally harmless and good for building greater camaraderie and closeness. However, we must find a way to ensure a healthy balance is fostered.

Relationships with supervisors

I’ve often found it expedient and mutually beneficial to maintain a healthy power distance with supervisors. For them, it can become awkward and somewhat difficult when there is a need to issue disciplinary measures. In many cases, disciplinary action becomes forfeited and management becomes more challenging. Similarly, when a manager suddenly needs to be coercive or disciplinary, it is difficult for the employee to not take the action personally who then grapples with feelings of hurt and betrayal.

Relationships with co-workers

Managing relationships with co-workers can be more tricky. While we can’t ask that co-workers come to work every day with cherry smiles and warm greetings, WE can try to be that worker. I’ve worked at a place where a co-worker never said good morning, and I challenged myself to continue to greet her despite her cold hostility. Sure, I felt dumb many times, but I was determined that this person was not going to change who I was. Yes, I understand that a decision like this is yours to make.

We’ve also worked with the co-worker who is quick on the draw to spread negative news. Anything said quickly gets misconstrued and suddenly you find yourself with enemies, who never made any real effort to get to know you. There are also, the ones who overly compensate and simply can’t be trusted since they never let you know what they don’t like about you. Then there are the slackers, the ones we’ve done the work for and always have some family drama going on. The list goes on…

Over the years, I’ve grown to appreciate the ones who speak much less and truly work hard. They inspire me to work better and be more focused at work. I intentionally befriend the ones with less drama.It’s the best thing in the world, to be working in an ideal environment, but that is rarely the case since we have to engage with different persons. Each person is shaped by their individual past, background and experiences…..some of which we can never relate to.

I’ve found it valuable to try to walk in someone’s shoes as much as possible with the information I do know. Also, I have resolved that every person has personal challenges, hormonal fluctuations, disappointments and worries that are different each day and that it is best to not take a person’s actions personally. In fact, a healthy balance of short meaningful conversations and working independently has been positive for me.  It protects me from getting hurt and disappointed. Also, I can still be a blessing and genuinely care about them without jeopardising our friendships long-term.

By Cherisse Madeira

Mrs. Cherisse Madeira graduated from the University of the West Indies in 2009, with a Postgraduate Diploma in Mediation Studies, a degree in Communication Studies, with minors in Psychology and Human Resource Management. Originally from Marabella, she currently resides in Santa Cruz with her husband. Mrs. Madeira works at the Ministry of Health and is currently completing her MBA. She looks forward to living her best life, sharing her faith and learning from others. You can check out her other articles at:

© All rights reserved. Re-posted with permission. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission from the author.

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