Build Effective Working Relationships

IMG_0016After adjusting to the workplace, the first step towards working with the community in their reblocking efforts and our team’s first main objective upon arrival was to begin building cooperative relationships with our co-researchers or the community leaders.  Developing effective working relationships enabled the team to be seen as unbiased, trustworthy facilitators between stakeholders.  To accomplish this, our team started by introducing ourselves and our perspective on our role within the project to our sponsors, our co-researchers, the community, and other stakeholders.  After establishing our role, we planned several structured activities that began to build relationships with the people we worked with. These activities tended to start as small ice breakers, and at first glance may seem insignificant.  However, they have the ability to foster meaningful discussion about opportunities in the community, commitment and investment to the project from all participants, and create a sense of equality among all participants. Developing effective work relations aims to improve communication between stakeholders and enable genuine discussion. The upgrading and reblocking processes can be complicated and personal.  Our team’s ability to show the community our genuine interest in assisting them, learning together with them, as well as our investment in the project, and therefore the development of the community, played a part in our project outcome.  The strategies we researched and– in some cases– applied included cultural exchange, involving co-researchers, and creative activities.