Getting Along | Amy Gallo

Summary of: Getting Along: How to Work with Anyone (Even Difficult People)
By: Amy Gallo


In ‘Getting Along: How to Work with Anyone (Even Difficult People)’, Amy Gallo delves into the complex world of workplace relationships and their impact on job satisfaction. Contrary to popular belief, your status or line of work alone won’t guarantee happiness; instead, social connections and supportive colleagues are key factors. In this summary, we’ll explore the importance of reshaping our perception of work relationships, dealing with unpleasant coworkers, and improving our overall well-being at work.

Social Connections: Key to Job Satisfaction

Job satisfaction is not always dependent on impressive titles, high salaries, or the nature of the work itself. Instead, it hinges on the quality of social connections and the relationships formed in the workplace. The feeling of being supported and surrounded by positive colleagues can, in turn, improve an individual’s sense of fulfillment and happiness at work. Therefore, it is essential to recognize that jobs considered mundane can be equally satisfying and rewarding if one has meaningful social connections at their workplace.

The common assumption is that a higher ranking job or working for a prestigious organization guarantees happiness and satisfaction in one’s career. However, this is not always the case. Job satisfaction doesn’t always rely on the job itself, but rather, on the nature of the relationships one has with their coworkers. For example, a factory worker with close friends at work may be happier than an executive in a hostile work environment, as social connections play an essential role in one’s overall job satisfaction.

A study conducted to examine the effect of supportive people on perceived challenges proves the importance of having strong social connections. Participants were divided into two groups: solo climbers and paired-up climbers. When given a heavy backpack and asked to estimate a hill’s steepness, the paired-up climbers gave a more manageable estimate compared to those who were alone.

On the other hand, the lack of supportive workplace relationships can negatively impact one’s productivity and well-being. Studies show that unhappy employees may deliberately underperform, and hostile work environments can have detrimental effects on health. In one experiment, couples in supportive relationships had a faster healing rate from minor injuries than those in conflictive relationships.

The human brain is wired to respond to the way we are treated by others. When we face criticism or betrayal in the workplace, our amygdala releases stress hormones, causing physical manifestations, such as shallow breathing or a tense jaw. In the long term, these stressors can harm your career and health.

In conclusion, establishing positive social connections in the workplace is crucial for achieving job satisfaction and overall well-being. Individuals must recognize the value of these relationships, regardless of their job, title, or organization. Having caring colleagues and a supportive work environment will contribute immensely to one’s fulfillment and happiness at work.

Harnessing Growth Through Response

Embrace the power of choice by observing your reactions and reappraising situations, which ultimately leads to personal growth and freedom. Identify and avoid difficult individuals, document interactions, and focus on nurturing relationships with positive, like-minded people, both inside and outside of work.

Viktor Frankl, an Austrian psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor, once shared a profound idea: within the gap between stimulus and response lies our power to choose our reactions, and in that choice, we find growth and freedom. To explore this concept, consider your own reactions to various situations.

For instance, imagine presenting at work and becoming upset when a coworker shrugs instead of applauding. You might feel as if the presentation was a failure. However, this reaction may stem from a negativity bias, where you focus solely on the undesirable outcome while overlooking any positive aspects. Perhaps other colleagues nodded, smiled, or took notes enthusiastically throughout your presentation.

To overcome this bias, reassess the situation and attempt to perceive it through a more positive or neutral lens. Reframe any challenges as opportunities rather than threats.

If unpleasant work relationships continue to impact your career and life, take proactive steps to address them. Identify difficult people, such as a passive-aggressive manager or a consistently negative coworker, and minimize interactions with them whenever possible. Choose to communicate through email or decline social invitations when appropriate.

When avoidance is not an option, start documenting interactions and conversations to identify behavioral patterns. However, avoid shaming others, retaliating, or suppressing your feelings.

Emphasize personal control by creating a microculture that aligns with your values. Connect with people who share your mindset and offer a positive presence in your life. Engage in activities beyond work with these individuals and practice self-compassion, ultimately cultivating growth and freedom through mindful response.

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