Have you ever been in a workplace where things just didn’t seem to click between you and your coworkers? Perhaps no one can be bothered to utter as much as a civil “good morning” each day. Maybe things are a bit worse and your office has resorted to passive-aggressive notes being pasted on the fridge, marking lunch bag territory or vague signs that start off with “to whomever is doing X”.
If the headline of this article enticed you enough to earn a “click here to read more” you probably have been in the position to experience at least one of the above unfortunate circumstances in your job. Not only can hostility or lack of good relations make for an awkward work environment, it can also stunt productivity and make teamwork inefficient or darn near impossible. While this may be a dire picture, all hope is not lost. Whether you’re already in a predicament or are simply looking to avoid problems, we have a host of solid suggestions for how to get your coworkers to like you.
Make Your Co-workers Feel Important
Everyone, including yourself, wants to feel valued in their work and personal life. One of the best ways you can set the tone for good office relations is to let your coworkers know that you value their efforts and appreciate their input. Show appreciation when a job-mate has a job well done and don’t be afraid to stop someone in the hall for a quick compliment on some aspect of their performance. These little details will go a long way towards warming a chilly coworker relationship.
Listen to What Your Coworker Wants
Having goals, needs and desires is a huge part of feeling fulfilled in your work life. If things are on the outs with a coworker, it may be due in part to them not feeling as if their professional needs are being met. Whether its more resources for a project or increased responsibility or the chance to progress, actively listen to what your coworker desires most and communicate with them in terms of these goals. This will help you feel like you’re working together to achieve career success.
Take a Sincere Interest in Your Co-Workers
If you’re looking to form sincere, friendly relationships with your coworkers, you should probably start eliminating the word “I” from your vocabulary. Demanding workplaces can be stressful environments and it’s nice to know that someone cares about how you’re doing both personally and professionally. Try interacting with your workmates by asking how they’re handling the workload of the new project. As you become more familiar, ask after their family, pet or a social hobby they’ve made known to the office. This will go a long way towards showing you’re interested in your coworker’s well-being.
Start Doing Things for Others
Notice that your coworker is under the weather or overwhelmed by a massive project or deadline. If you have the capacity, offer to step in and help out at the appropriate time. Being a team player is an important part of forming office commaraderies. It can also help out when you find yourself in need of an extra set of eyes or pair of hands. Ask your workmates on a regular basis if they need your assistance and don’t forget to occasionally go outside of your specific department to demonstrate to your company and management your willingness to take on duties and responsibilities.
This piece of advice for workplace happiness may seem a little basic, but it’s guaranteed to work. Across cultures and even species, a smile is one of the easiest ways to communicate friendliness and approachability. Both of these qualities will serve you well in winning over coworkers. Everyone is bound to have a down day here and there so don’t feel obligated to put on a happy face at all times. Do make an effort to smile and be approachable in your interactions and perhaps you’ll find your own mood improved as well as those of your fellow employees.
Ask Questions and Actively Listen to Responses
One of the biggest hurdles to happiness in any personal interaction is the feeling that a person is not being listened to. If you want to be on friendly terms with your coworkers, practice asking questions and listening to their responses. Taking a few minutes to stop talking and responding can allow you to process what is being said a
nd can help you understand differences in thought process and the inevitable opinion. Asking someone to explain their thought process is one of the simplest and most straightforward ways to meaningful, and peaceful, communication.
Make Suggestions Instead of Expressing Opinions
Along the same lines as asking questions, people often have a difficult time keeping their cool when replying to another person’s opinions. Especially in the workplace, opinions often provide no meaningful path to resolution. Stating how you feel about a subject also allows your coworker to draw their own opinions, which can lead to misunderstanding. Instead of expressing your opinion on a topic, rework your response into a suggestion for an action or approach. You’ll get much further and help avoid the pitfalls a case of the “I feels” may bring.
Avoid Telling People they are Wrong
If you’re sensing a theme among the last few hints and tricks to coworker happiness, you’ve hit the nail on the head. Telling someone they are wrong is a form of opinion expression that is unhelpful at least and damaging to relationships at worst. Instead of telling someone they’re wrong, try instead asking them to clarify their opinion or state your alternative opinion in the form of a question to open up a dialog. Often times a “wrong” approach can be chalked up to misunderstanding in communication.
When You’re Wrong, Admit It
With all that being said, if you find yourself in a position where you’ve made a mistake or were clearly in the wrong in an interaction or approach, fess up. Taking responsibility for your actions and words will earn you much more respect than a stubborn denial of reality or an attempt to sweep problems under the rug. If you’ve done something hurtful, apologize, and if you’ve made a mistake, try to make things right. You’ll earn the respect of your coworkers or, at the very least, won’t pile on the contempt.
If You Must Criticize, Use Tact
Especially if you’re in a management position, there w
ill be times when you will have to offer up constructive criticism or correction to your workmates. Remember to be respectful and keep in mind the golden rule of treating others how you would want to be treated during these interactions. Avoid criticizing coworkers in front of the rest of your teammates or others in the office. Additionally, instead of telling someone they made a mistake, offer up constructive criticism on what would have been a better or more effective approach. Remember the old adage that you collect more bees with honey than vinegar and you’ll be able to promote coworker happiness even in difficult feedback conversations.
As a closing thought, it’s nearly impossible to be a one person show in any work environment. You will inevitably need to rely on the help of your coworkers at multiple levels of company hierarchy. Building and maintaining friendliness with your coworkers is rewarding and well worth the extra work in the benefits you’ll receive in productivity and contentment in the workplace.