Published on June 6th, 2019
Motivational coach Jim Rohn once said: ‘You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.’
Making a list of your people shouldn’t take long. If you have a full-time job, it means that most of the time you spend with your co-workers.
Do you spend eight hours per day with your partner or best friends? Do you see your parents and siblings as often? Let’s admit that your colleagues do matter and your well-being depends on the quality of relationships with them.
Being able to build relationships at work doesn’t only make you feel good, but it can also show that you are a fantastic manager. Besides being an expert in your field, you also need to improve your social skills at the workplace.
Your goal is to establish trusting relationships with your co-workers, managers, and employers. It will help you feel better at the workplace, win support for your new projects, and get extra benefits like promotion.
1. Be Observant
At first, you might think that you have nothing in common with your co-workers. However, you will not be able to build healthy relationships with them if you separate yourself.
Humans can’t survive alone, so no matter what your beliefs, you need to find common ground with people you work with. The first and most important is to start observing them. How do they react to different situations? What do they eat for lunch? What do they like to discuss with other colleagues? To approach your co-worker, you need to identify their strengths and weaknesses.
Once you think you know something about your colleague, make small talk with them. Of course, it can be something general like weather, social events, pop-culture, etc. However, if you start the topic that would interest your co-workers, you are more likely to bond with them. Once you get their attention, try to listen more than to talk. It will give you the possibility to understand people on a deep level.
It is essential to mention that you don’t have to hang out after work and become their friends if you don’t feel like it. Some people might irritate you, but you shouldn’t make a big deal out of it, you can still communicate. Send a free fax or email if you need to transfer important information.
2. Create An Image
To establish better relationships with your colleagues, you need to create a positive professional image of yourself. Even though you spend a third of your life at the workplace, you can’t be fully yourself. You can’t show your vulnerability if you want to position yourself as an expert.
Share your fears and anxiety in private among your best friends and family members. At the workplace, try to avoid whining and looking lost. Your boss wants you to remain professional no matter what.
So, consider a dress code even if you have ‘no dress code’ policy. You should feel comfortable and confident in your clothing (wearing home clothes wouldn’t be an option).
Also, don’t let the conflict between you and your colleague destroy your project. Getting too personal can hinder the work and won’t paint you in the best light. So, leave name-calling and complaining outside of your office.
The positive image at work implies being emotionally mature. It means you shouldn’t let your emotions dictate your behaviors. Let’s say you had a terrible fight with your partner last night; you shouldn’t take your anger out on your colleagues. Being able to avoid or resolve conflicts in the workplace is another sign of emotional maturity. Complaining to your boss is the last thing you should do since you are not at primary school.
If you want to win your colleagues and employer over, show that you are self-motivated, adaptable, positive, and responsible. Don’t hide under the rock since it can decrease your professional value.
To prove that you are adaptable and responsible, you should be able to make decisions, challenge yourself, and offer new ideas.
3. Be Friendly
Your employer wants you to remain professional, but your co-workers also want you to be an easy-going person. Finding a balance between being friendly and professional is an art that you need to learn.
Being friendly at the workplace means making your co-workers feel comfortable next to you. There are a lot of things you can do to look like an approachable person.
First of all, show genuine interest in your colleagues’ lives. To do so, you can ask about their weekend. If they share more details than just saying ‘fine, and yours?’, you will be able to learn more about them and make small talk.
When people speak to you, make sure you have friendly open gestures. Don’t be afraid to joke when it’s appropriate. Humor helps to break the ice and show that you are a fast thinker. Also, it can help overcome stress, build trust, and create an upbeat atmosphere. However, don’t tend to be funny, you don’t want people to make fun of you. Also, avoid making jokes about someone since it can hurt your co-worker’s feelings.
When people want to speak to you at the lunch break, get rid of distractions such as your phone and listen to them carefully.
Even if you don’t want to hang out with your colleagues after official working hours, don’t skip all the social events. People usually connect outside of work when they actually have time to talk and joke around.
Maintaining excellent relationships with your colleagues can make your work more enjoyable and less stressful. Also, it can give you an opportunity to boost your career since your co-workers will support your ideas and suggestions. Winning your colleagues over is possible. Once you have mutual respect, trust, and open communication, you will understand that this game is worth the candle.