Working with someone you don’t like, don’t trust, or don’t want to be around makes for a miserable day at work. It’s exhausting. By the end of the day, you’re stressed out and discouraged. You might even wonder if the job is worth it. If you find yourself struggling to deal with coworkers, know that you’re not stuck. You can take steps to turn the relationships around. Those same steps also prevent work relationships from deteriorating. Having positive work relationships improves the quality of your work life. And getting along with your coworkers can help you get through the day!
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How to Build Good Relationships with your Coworkers
Here are five simple ways you can build strong, effective relationships at work.
1. Root For Them
Treat every interaction as an opportunity to help the other person succeed. The more you help others succeed, the stronger your work relationships will be. You become a better problem solver and a more valuable team member when you focus on service. Helping your coworkers also increases the likelihood that they will help you in return. Adopting a service mindset benefits everyone.
2. Be Attentive
Give your full attention to every conversation. You know how frustrating it is to talk to someone who isn’t listening to you. The reverse is also true: people know when you’re not listening, and they find it as frustrating as you do. Being a good listener shows that you respect the person who’s speaking and care about what they’re saying. To be a good listener, stop what you’re doing, put your other thoughts on hold, and focus on the conversation at hand. It’s simple to do and it works.
3. Be Reliable
Be someone that others can rely on. The only way to be reliable is to keep your promises. Only make promises that you know you can keep. Promising someone something you know you can’t do isn’t a promise, it’s a dream. And broken dreams lead to hard feelings. The lack of follow-through puts a strain on work relationships. Being unreliable is also a performance issue. Unreliable employees lose out on promotions and other opportunities.
4. Be Courteous
Show professional courtesy, even when you’re busy. Professional courtesy includes anything that shows respect and appreciation for your coworkers. Respond to emails and voicemails quickly, say please and thank you, and look at people when you talk to them. Treat everyone with respect. Be courteous even when you don’t like someone or when you’ve had a bad day.
5. Have Realistic Expectations
Understand your role and the limits on what you can and can’t do. You can prevent many problems at work by having a solid understanding of your role. Understand what’s expected of you, even if you performed the same job somewhere else. Also, make sure you understand how your performance will be evaluated. Be prepared to justify your performance. Know what you can’t do because you lack the authority, resources, or knowledge to act.
What to Do If the Work Relationship Doesn’t Improve
Sometimes, despite your efforts, the work relationship doesn’t get better. You’ve done everything you can think of to improve the situation, and nothing has changed. If that’s the case, then accept the situation for what it is and move on.
When you need to interact with the person, be friendly and professional. Treat them with the same respect and courtesy you would give anyone else. This might help improve the relationship over time. Even if it doesn’t, you’ve avoided doing something that would further strain the relationship.
It’s discouraging to find yourself dealing with difficult coworkers. But you may be able to turn the situation around. These suggestions will help you begin rebuilding that relationship.
Anita Chastain, MBA is a writer with a passion for simple living. She writes about topics related to simplifying work and living an authentic and uncomplicated life. Anita also creates resources to help people become more organized and use their time more effectively. You can learn more on her websites.
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