Shannon Waller, the director of new program development at Strategic Coach, offers six simple but effective ways to create camaraderie and develop strong working relationships with your coworkers.
1. Smile and be friendly
If you're the type of person who comes into work and walks straight to your desk, immediately opening up your email and tuning out everything and everyone around you, you might want to reconsider your attitude. Not only does this behaviour isolate you, it isolates others, too.
While you may want to maintain a work-only mentality at the office, smiling and acting friendly toward others will go a long way, says Waller. "Say, 'Good morning. How are you? How's it going?' Be friendly and open," she advises. "You look less intimidating when you smile."
2. Be a team player
Help others when you can. If someone needs help carrying a box or stapling some documents together, or just wants to bounce an idea off of you, make yourself available. "You want to be relied upon to help out when need be," says Waller.
Being available and supportive will help you move ahead in your job and progress in your field. "You'll be perceived as someone who people want to work with," she explains. "You're not just there to check email, you're there to interact as well."
3. Be aware of how you come across
If you are not aware of your body language, you may come across in a way that is unintentional. "Your body language and tone of voice convey more than your actual words. People are listening for that," says Waller. So think before you react and put more effort into creating a friendly impression.
For example, if a coworker comes to talk to you, instead of barking, "What do you want?" ask him politely how you can help. If you're too swamped to chat, let him know that you'd love to talk right now, but you can't, Waller advises. Be sure to provide the reason why and then set a time to reconnect.
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4. Don't scare people
People often don't realize when they are taking their own stress and frustrations out on others. There is a right and a wrong way to act around your coworkers. Your best course of action is to always be polite, friendly and genuine. "Own your own emotions, don't impose them on other people," says Waller. When things go wrong, say, "I'm really frustrated" not "You're an idiot." Statements that begin with "I" demonstrate that you are simply stating your feelings, not shifting blame or lashing out, she explains.
5. Take your relationship to the next step
Spend some time with your coworkers away from the office to get to know them better. If you get to know your office mates as human beings instead of just work colleagues, it will make your relationships that much stronger, says Waller. "You are so much more than your role at work, so this will give you the chance to connect," she explains. "Talk to people about things that matter to them. This will make them feel cared about as people, not just for what they can do for you."
6. Be clear about what you want
Make sure that you and your coworkers are on the same page by communicating your ideas and desires clearly. Waller suggests saying something along the lines of: "Just so we are all agreed, we are accomplishing this task to this standard by this timeline, right? Is everyone agreed?" That way you can avoid any potential confusion down the road. Communicating clearly helps ensure there are no assumptions made about a project or task and that everyone understands their roles and expectations. "We often assume, which is a big cause of conflict," Waller explains.
Even though you may have your own work to do, it's still important to connect and build good relationships with the people you work with. The better you get along with your coworkers, the easier your working life will be.
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