Developing comfortable professional relationships with your coworkers is an important part of working as a team and creating a positive workplace culture. Conflicts may arise in the workplace, sometimes between people whose personalities are incompatible, but there are ways to overcome difficulties and encourage productive interactions with your coworkers. This article shares several useful tips on how to get along with coworkers in any workplace.
Why is it important to get along with coworkers?
Workplace performance can immensely improve when employees have good working relationships and feel comfortable with one another. Whether you interact with your colleagues every day in the office or through remote communications, you should make an effort to build positive relationships with others. Your behavior in the workplace can help set an example for others and encourage everyone on your team to get along.
How to get along with coworkers
Here are several tips for getting along with your coworkers to improve your experience at your job:
Be a good listener
One of the most effective ways to get along with a coworker is to listen to their ideas. When your coworkers are sharing their opinions and thoughts, active listening can demonstrate respect and support. People who feel respected and understood will often be respectful and kind in return. If a coworker shares a set a boundary about how they prefer to be treated, do your best to remember their requests and act accordingly.
Respect others’ personal space
Especially when sharing an office space with others, it is important to respect your coworkers’ personal space and property. Ask before borrowing any supplies from a coworker or moving any items on their desks. You should also keep a respectful distance of a few feet when having conversations in the office. Some cultures have different expectations on how to interact in the workplace, but in the United States, the only appropriate physical contact in the workplace is the occasional handshake.
Avoid taking sides
When coworkers have interpersonal conflicts with one another, try not to take sides. You can express your concerns without isolating a coworker or increasing tension in a group. By staying neutral and refusing to take part in gossip, you can earn the respect of those around you. Your coworkers will likely appreciate that they can trust you not to participate in any office rumors.
Concentrate on your work
A great way to get along with your coworkers is to focus on doing your job well. People often respect those who work hard and are dedicated to producing quality work. If you work closely with a team, the quality of your work can direct the work of others. Your coworkers will likely appreciate when you are committed to each of your tasks and do not rely on others to complete or correct your work.
Model good behavior
You can encourage positive relationships with your coworkers by modeling the behavior you would like to see in the workplace. If you want your coworkers to keep a tidy environment, first make sure that you regularly display organizational skills and cleanliness. Modeling good behavior can also teach your coworkers valuable teamwork skills.
Setting expectations with your coworkers can be an important part of working well with your team. In order to avoid feelings of disappointment or resentment, you can encourage your coworkers to assign fair and equal workloads to each team member. If you need to have regular check-ins with your coworkers to learn about the status of a project, set a clear timeline or a regular meeting schedule that everyone can agree on.
Communicating regularly and directly with your coworkers shows them that you are both committed to your work and mindful of how it affects others. Provide updates before you are asked, and follow up on important topics that your coworkers mention. Part of communicating openly involves responding promptly to messages and giving honest and constructive feedback.
Another way to get along with your coworkers is to regularly show appreciation for their work and time. When your coworker completes a project successfully or demonstrates your company’s core values, congratulate them. Many people appreciate getting praise from a coworker and will be more willing to listen to your opinions and consider your ideas. Frequently, a coworker you regularly compliment and uplift will have a better attitude when interacting with you and others.
If you have extra time in your workday, offer to help your coworkers with basic tasks. While they are the most qualified person to perform their main tasks, they might appreciate help on administrative work or paperwork. You can have a better chance of getting along with coworkers by being a team player and supporting their work.
Assume positive intent
Coworker relationships often have a more serious tone than friendships, so it can sometimes be difficult to interpret a coworker’s tone. Because people are trying to be professional at work, always assume that your coworkers have positive intentions. Your coworkers may have their own stress factors at work that influence how they interact with others. Giving your coworkers the benefit of the doubt whenever possible also allows them the opportunity to get to know you better.
If you have a coworker who is particularly difficult to get along with, you can always set boundaries about when and how you will interact. If you feel that a coworker’s behavior has been unprofessional, you can explain your boundaries and politely ask for a change in behavior. You can limit interactions with difficult coworkers in order to get more enjoyment out of the rest of your workday.
Ask for mediation
If you are unable to get along with a coworker in a way that seriously influences your work, consider asking someone at your company to help mediate. Your manager can be an excellent resource for mediating conflicts with coworkers or reassigning people who do not work well together to different projects.
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