Golden Rules for Social Interaction at the Workplace

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Written by By Teh Yenni (BAC Apprentice) 

To thrive and flourish at your workplace, it will help if you are able to read and pick up on social cues, plus have effective communication skills. You will also need to interact and establish healthy relationships with the people you work with. 



Let us walk you through on how you can build on positive social interactions while at work: 


1) Primacy Effect 

First impressions matter 

Based on psychological research, a first impression is formed in the first 45 seconds of a meet up which includes appearance, clothing, posture, and facial expressions, etc. Thus, “Primacy Effect” reminds us that we should always make a good impression when we meet for the first time as it will dominate our subsequent interactions. 

People are more willing to chat with people who are well-dressed. But you also need to mind the way and manner of your speech. It is best to be humorous, clear, humble, and elegant. This is because “a good beginning is half the battle”. 


2) Principles of Integrity 

Don’t easily make promises 

“No one can stand without credibility.” Honesty is the foundation of interpersonal communication and is considered as a measure of ones’ worth. If a person is not trustworthy, it may be hard to make a lasting relationship with others. Even a company is hard to sustain their business without a good reputation. 

George Washington said “undertake not what you cannot perform, but be careful to keep your promise”. Thus, don’t make promises you can’t keep and don’t say something unless you mean it. 


3) Principle of Human Dignity 

Show respect to others 

In a social relationship, no matter how good you are, don’t forget to give others some dignity. Respect them by giving their full attention and listening to what they have said or recognize their hard work, talents, insights, or thoughtfulness. 

Showing respect to your colleagues will build feelings of trust. Therefore, be careful with the bridges you’re willing to burn when trying to get ahead as you’ll never know when you’ll need a friend again.  


4) Power of Praise 

Simple but transformative act 

The power of praising and recognising the efforts and achievements of others can bring positive results at the workplace and it is a great way to build confidence amongst your team members. Being praised makes the recipient feel good about themselves and this can help to boost their performance. However, only genuine achievements should be praised. Otherwise, praise loses its value as a motivational tool. Thus, it needs to be delivered effectively and we should ensure our feedback is always constructive and specific. 


5) White Lies 

Lies are necessary to safeguard someone’s well-being 

White lies are for beneficial purposes. Being totally honest in some cases would create unpleasantness, and can be deemed offensive. Some view white lies as a sign of civility. Bear in mind, at times, compliments can go a long way. Since, white lies are often minor or inconsequential in certain situations, it is deemed acceptable to benefit other people. 


6) Law of Reciprocity 

Help yourself by helping others 

“Treat people the way you want to be treated. Talk to people the way you want to be talked to. Respect is earned, not given”. Interpersonal communication is like an echo. People are more likely to say “YES” when you give them something and we tend to say “YES” when we have positive feelings toward someone. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said that “It is one of the beautiful compensations of life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.” Thus, always lend others a helping hand because it will eventually come back to you in unexpected ways. 


7) Principle of Tolerance 

Excusing the mistakes others make 

Workplaces are made up of people who come from different backgrounds and have completely individual personalities. In some cases, the diversity can cause tension and make it difficult for employees to get along easily. 

Building tolerance in the workplace is an essential part of making the employees get along and enhance creativity and cooperation between them. The more they respect and trust each other, the better the results will be. 

You must know that as you think you are right with your own beliefs and experiences, others feel the same way about their own. You’ll learn more than you ever imagined if you see the world through beliefs rather than right and wrong. As such it is very important to practice tolerance through your actions and not your words, we should be compassionate and understanding when dealing with colleagues and give each other help and support when it is necessary. 



Now that you have a few pointers on social interaction at the workplace, practising them is something you need to begin with. 

You are a born leader. You have the potential with you to bring prosperity, happiness, and joy to this world!