There is an excellent chance you spend more time with your coworkers than with anyone else. That includes your spouse, kids, parents or friends. If you have a good relationship with them, that may not be a bad thing, but if you don’t, your time at work can be miserable. If you don’t know how to get along with your coworkers, it’s time you found out.
Good workplace relationships can help you do your job better. They can make going to work every day enjoyable or, at least, tolerable. Bad ones can distract you from your duties and can turn a so-so job into a nightmare. Follow these tips to learn how to get along better with your coworkers.
1. Respect Your Colleagues
For any relationship to succeed, the individuals who are part of it must have—and show—respect for each other. One way to demonstrate respect is by avoiding doing things others might find offensive. For example, don’t leave a mess behind, don’t come to work sick and don’t steal credit for someone else’s work.
2. Steer Clear of Cringe-Worthy Topics
You might feel so comfortable with your colleagues that you think it’s ok to talk about anything at work. What you must keep in mind is that your coworkers are a captive audience. They can’t leave if they don’t like the topic of conversation, and they may feel awkward asking you to change it. Some controversial subject matters, politics and religion for example, could even cause arguments that might lead to discord in the workplace. Wait until you’re with your friends and family to discuss them.
3. Get Your Workplace Relationships Off to a Good Start
There are a lot of things to stress over when you start a new job, but you may be most worried about forming relationships with your new coworkers. If you didn’t get along with your colleagues at your last job, you might fret that things will be the same at this one. If you had great relationships, you could be concerned things will never be the same.
It may not happen overnight, but you will eventually bond with everyone (or at least almost everyone) at your new job. You can get off to a good start by being friendly to your new coworkers. A warm smile goes a long way. Asking questions and accepting lunch invitations do too.
4. Find A Way to Get Along With Even the Most Difficult People
You know the old saying “You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family”? You could say the same about your colleagues. You are unlikely to have any control over who your coworkers are and what they are like. A few—hopefully not too many—may have some annoying qualities. Whether you work with a chatterbox, a gossip, a delegator, a complainer or a credit grabber, your life will be much easier if you find a way to get along with him.
5. Don’t Spread Malicious Gossip
Based on rumor or fact, gossip can get you into trouble. Resist the urge to share juicy bits of news about anyone with whom you work. When you do, it sends a message to your coworkers that you aren’t trustworthy, and they will wonder if they will be your next subject.
While you should refrain from gossiping, you should know how to make the grapevine work for you. Listen to all the news that comes your way, filter out what is blatantly false and ignore anything that isn’t helpful.
6. Practice Good Office Etiquette
Good manners are as important on the job as they are anywhere else. This is an important point to remember whenever you are around your coworkers. Make sure to make phone calls in a way that doesn’t distract anyone who is trying to work. Keep your voice down and, if possible, have private conversations away from others.
Take care when writing or replying to email. Always say “please” when making a request and don’t drive your coworkers crazy by hitting “reply all” in a group email when only the sender needs to see your response.
Be mindful of proper table manners when eating lunch with your coworkers. For example, avoid tending to matters of personal hygiene at the table, put your cell phone away and be polite to waitstaff.
7. Be Kind to Your Coworkers
Everyone has bad days. Show your coworker some kindness when he seems to be struggling. You don’t have to do something extravagant. How about offering to stay late to help him work on a big project with a looming deadline or bringing her coffee and a cookie on a dreary Monday morning? It won’t make your colleague’s problems disappear, but it could help him feel better.