It pays to get along with your coworkers. Many people find working with people to be one of the biggest challenges of their job. Even if you think you’ve gotten off on the wrong foot, there are plenty of techniques and ways you can not only get along with your coworkers, but actually build alliances and make yourself a more desirable employee. Here are some tips for working well with, winning over, and influencing your colleagues and coworkers:
1. Remember the “golden rule”–treat your coworkers with respect and treat them as you would like to be treated. By treating your coworkers with respect and dignity, you’ll build rapport and mutual respect in the work place. Using your manners, listening to what other people have to say, considering other suggestions and ideas are all important ways to demonstrate to your colleagues that you care and appreciate them.
2. Be a communicator–speak clearly and directly to people instead of going behind their backs or over their heads. This is part of the “respect” factor and is one of the biggest complaints coworkers have about one another. If an issue develops or you have a problem with something someone has said or done, go directly to that person in a non threatening way. Stay calm and direct and your colleagues will respect you as someone who is honest and forthcoming.
3. Set boundaries and have clear understandings and expectations–I think nothing messes up a working environment more than murky boundaries and unclear job expectations. People can feel very possessive and territorial about their own job duties, their desk or work space, their breaks, etc. It is important to set very clear boundaries amongst colleagues and respect others’ attempts to set boundaries. If there are confusions or miscommunications about who does what and which space or duties belong to which worker–get it out in the open and talk things through. This will help to establish strong boundaries so relationships can be clear and non threatening.
4. Get to know your coworkers–now this doesn’t mean that you have to socialize outside of work with your colleagues, but it does mean that you actually chat with your coworkers–train yourself to ask them about their weekends, learn the names of their partners and children, learn about what they like to do in their off hours, where they went to college, etc. While some people classify this as “small talk” and think it is just pointless chatter in the workplace, it is really just good social skills. Showing genuine interest and remembering details about your colleagues is one of the surest ways to win them over and build alliances. They will know that you see them as more than a coworker and your interest will help them feel valued and involved in work outcomes.
As you can see, these are not very complicated or difficult ways to interact with colleagues–by showing a bit of genuine interest and treating individuals with respect and appreciation, you’ll find yourself able to function well in a workplace team and influence your coworkers.