You don’t get to choose your family and for the most part, you don’t get to choose your co-workers. It is inevitable that you will not like everyone you work with, but if you can get along with your teammates it has many benefits for you and your organization.
In this article, we discuss the importance of positive relationships in the workplace and tips for getting along with your co-workers.
A recent study surveyed 1,100 employees and found that roughly 80 percent reported moderate to severe stress as a result of working with a difficult co-worker. Getting along with your colleagues can not only decrease work-related stress but can increase your overall job satisfaction. If you enjoy interacting with your co-workers you will look forward to seeing them and you will feel more motivated to start the day with a positive attitude. A supportive, cohesive work environment, where team members respect one another, creates a happier workplace that encourages collaboration and productivity.
Whether you work in an office or from home, if you interact with other people it is important to build and maintain positive relationships. Here are seven tips to improve interpersonal relationships with your co-workers:
If you want to form positive relationships in the workplace you need to spend time learning about your co-workers. Ask your colleagues questions and actively listen to their answers. Listening shows that you are interested in the other person and what they have to say. You could inquire about their weekend plans, their hobbies, or if they listen to podcasts. Utilizing some simple conversation skills can go a long way toward getting to know your peers and finding out who you are most compatible with.
You are not going to like every person you work with, and that’s normal. But, no matter how challenging you find someone, showing them respect keeps the relationship professional and positive. A respectful environment reduces unwanted stress and conflict and helps to improve communication in the workplace. It is also important to respect your co-workers’ privacy. If a co-worker shares something private with you, keep it confidential whenever possible.
This involves a balancing act: you should strive to be open and honest and share information with your co-workers to avoid coming across as cold or disinterested. However, you also want to make sure not to overshare. Revealing too much information (TMI) about personal matters, feelings about your job, and other sensitive subjects can be a breach of workplace etiquette. Additionally, you should be mindful of talking too much at the expense of your own and your co-worker’s productivity. Try to keep your work conversations light when possible, unless you consider a co-worker to be a close friend.
We all know that feeling, you’re starting a new job, you’re nervous, and you’re entering a workplace full of established relationships. When a new co-worker joins your team, take the time to welcome them and get to know them. Show them that you are happy to form a working relationship and they can collaborate with you easily. You can also try to include them in social events. If your team meets for drinks or goes to lunch on a certain day, invite them to go along. Not only is it good to meet new people, you will show support to your co-worker.
To improve communication in the workplace and to get along with your co-workers keep your conversations positive. Certain topics — such as sex, politics, and religion — can lead to heated, uncomfortable conversations. Avoid discussing these topics in the workplace to reduce the chance of arguments or altercations. Do not engage in gossip, especially about your manager or another co-worker, as it comes across as negative and can discourage people from wanting to talk with you. Try to approach your work with a smile on your face, even if you aren’t having the best day. If you do feel the need to open up about a more personal issue for your mental health, make sure to approach the appropriate person in your organization.
While it is good to socialize to improve your relationships, it is also important to complete your work. If your co-workers have to take on more projects because you have been unable to finish this can result in animosity. When you do your job well, you prevent your co-workers from having to perform additional tasks and contribute to a more productive work environment. Your interactions with others become much easier when people know that they can rely on you to get things done. When you are successful at work, remember to credit the people that have helped you. If you take credit for other people’s good ideas they will not trust you in the future.
Making yourself approachable in the workplace can help you to get along with your co-workers. If you seem closed off or intimidating, your co-workers will be less likely to interact with you. If you work in a closed office, an open door policy lets your team know that you are available to talk. If an open-plan office, avoid wearing headphones all day and give people the opportunity to chat when needed. This is especially important if you are in a position of leadership. Letting your employees know you are approachable helps build trust and shows that you are invested in their careers.
It is true that you and your co-workers may never be friends, at the office or outside of work, but you still have a working relationship to maintain. By taking steps to open up, listen, understand, and connect, you can help ensure these relationships are far more productive—and satisfying.