When working with countless types of different personalities for 8-10 hours a day, conflicts may arise at times. Getting along with certain coworkers can be challenging, if not impossible. Workplace relationships have a significant effect on how you behave – good relationships can make the workday more enjoyable and help you become more successful, while bad relationships can be distracting and a waste of valuable time.
To nurture the good relationships and steer clear of the bad ones, there are certain behaviors to embrace and others to avoid while at the workplace. Below are 7 tips on how to get along with your coworkers:
- Communication is key. The best way to get to know someone is to spend some time together and talk to them. Find something you share in common – do they have kids, workout, like sports, visit the same coffee shop, etc. However, refrain from using the information obtained from gossip about fellow coworkers, which is known to bring people together but has a negative effect on the workplace atmosphere.
- Keep your emotions in check. Avoid displaying negative behaviors, such as physical discomfort, avoiding eye contact, or even hostility, when face-to-face with a coworker you don’t particularly like or care for. Learn how to control your emotions, agree to disagree, and most importantly be respectful regardless of your true feelings.
- Be helpful. Find ways to go above and beyond your core job functions. Keeping your head down and just doing your work for 8-10 hours a day will not get you very far. Offer to help an overwhelmed coworker, bring in baked goods, or simply hold the door or elevator.
- Smile and say hello. One of the easiest ways to keep positive energy going is to smile and say hello to everyone. It’s a great way to start a conversation with a coworker you don’t know very well or it merely acknowledges them during a busy workday. Make it a goal to be remembered as positive Polly not negative Nancy.
- Work on your social skills. A large part of getting along with coworkers is being able to read the social signs. Particularly with group discussions, analyze the situation and conform accordingly. In other words, gauge your audience first, then modify your persona just enough to form a bond. The opposite would be to expect the social situation to conform to you, which can lead to social awkwardness and uncomfortable situations.
- Never assume. You know the saying about making assumptions… Before overreacting to any given situation, remember to remain calm and get all the facts first. Get clarification (in a non-hostile manner) from the parties involved and try to gain some perspective as to where your coworkers are coming from because it might have nothing to do with you. Only after taking some time to process all the information should you react using the proper chain of command.
- Avoid office politics. It’s best to sidestep office politics all together. Do not get caught up in the perplexing game of picking sides, identifying the good guys and bad guys, or brown nosing. It’s best to stay neutral and focused, and always be yourself.
In closing, remember to consistently practice good office etiquette each and every day. It might make the difference between starting a good relationship with a coworker or bad one with a coworker that will eventually need to be addressed.
Do you have any tips to add or any funny anecdotes to share of coworker relationships gone wrong? Scenes from the movie Office Space always come to mind when discussing how to get along with coworkers.