In all likelihood, you spend more time with your coworkers than with family and friends. So to make your life — especially your work-life — more productive, pleasant, and professional, getting along with your coworkers is a big deal. If we lived in a perfect world, it would be easy. But we don’t live in a perfect world, and it isn’t easy, and there are just some coworkers that are forever going to rub you the wrong way.
Thankfully, you don’t all have to be best buddies. But there are some things you can do to ease the sometimes-rocky tide of office relationships.
- Show Respect
As we said, you don’t have to be best buddies, but you need to show respect to each team member. Demonstrate respect by practicing good etiquette in all communication, respecting others’ time and space, and acknowledging their thoughts and ideas.
- Avoid Oversharing
It can be easy to overshare at work, especially if you are friends with your team members, so it is vital to be aware and on guard. Some topics to tread carefully around are:
- Personal health issues
- Personal (too personal) relationship problems
- Pay Attention!
Take the time to pay attention and listen well to your coworkers. Seek to understand the things that are important to them. Listen more than you speak. Ask good questions. Acknowledge the milestones in their lives, too! You might find that getting along with your coworkers is much easier when you get to know them a little.
- Think Before You Speak
Your words have so much power! Do not be part of the gossip and rumor mill. It’s never worth it and completely unprofessional. When frustrated, pause before responding and give yourself a chance to respond wisely. Don’t be a complainer. Consider the effect of your words. By doing these things, you will be a bridge-builder rather than a bridge burner.
- Be Encouraging
It is important to be approachable. And if you are in any position of leadership at work, this is critical. Be intentional about finding at least one praiseworthy thing about each of your coworkers and let them know that you admire them for it.
Being kind, encouraging, and positive goes a long way towards good, healthy work relationships.
- Worry About Yourself (not others)
Don’t get us wrong here; there’s an old-fashioned term that describes what we mean. Don’t be a busybody.
Focus on your own job and not on what everyone else is, or isn’t, doing. Rather than “overseeing” others’ work, let management be management and stay out of it. This keeps your relationships with your coworkers intact. Plus, worrying about what others are doing causes your own work to suffer.
- Look With a Different Perspective
At the end of the day, there will always be work relationships and coworkers that are challenging. It’s just part of being human. But trying to see things from their perspective not only demonstrates respect but also helps you understand others better!