15 Easy Ways to Be a Better Co-worker

Modis Posted 22 June 2021

As employees and business leaders, we may invest a lot of time and energy into improving our output or quality of work, but how often do we think about the type of co-worker we are and how we can improve our working relationship with others?

Change Starts With You

Your first step in the road to improvement is to ask yourself some of these questions and be completely honest with yourself when answering them.

For employees:

  • What type of working relationship do I have with my co-workers, employees, consultants, and leaders, if any?
  • Do I understand and value all my working relationships fairly?
  • Do I consider the opinions and feelings of my co-workers?
  • Do I know and value what my co-workers think of me?
  • How much time do I contribute to building relationships at work?
  • How supportive am I as a co-worker?
  • Am I trustworthy?
  • What are things I might need to work on, and do I put effort into doing so?

For leaders:

  • Do I value all of my employees fairly?
  • Do I think my employees understand and value me?
  • Do my employees trust me as a leader?
  • Do I consider their opinions and feelings?
  • Do I make myself available and approachable?
  • Do I provide the right amount and type of support for them to be effective?
  • How much time do I contribute in building relationships at work?
  • What can I do to encourage a more connected team?


How to Be a Better Co-worker

After giving thought to these questions, and maybe some others that might be relevant to your role, here's a list of possible things you can do to create better working relationships with co-workers, leaders, employees, and consultants. Regardless of your role, think about the relationships you have and would like to have.

  • Say good morning, good night, hello, how are you, etc., to those around you. Simple greetings go a long way in starting conversations and being more approachable.
  • Take a few minutes at the coffee station or in the kitchen or even over chat when working remotely, to ask how someone's weekend went or how their day is going.
  • Offer to do something nice from time to time. Even a small gesture, like bringing someone their photocopying when you're at the copier, goes a long way.
  • Stop by to say “hi" to co-workers or employees to get to know them better, instead of just for work.
  • Show a genuine interest in co-workers; ask about, their interests, hobbies, pets, families etc.
  • Be supportive when co-workers and employees need support.
  • Make the effort to remember what co-workers have shared with you. If you don't remember what someone at work tells you about themselves, it conveys the message you weren't sincere in asking them.
  • Give credit and compliments for work well done. No one gets tired of being appreciated.
  • Work on putting yourself in someone else's shoes when you're talking and working with others. Be aware of how you would like to be treated.

As tempting as it may be, try to avoid being pulled into gossip that can be harmful to others. In the long run, the damage can become devastating to everyone, including yourself. Remember, if gossiping about others at work makes, it almost impossible for them to develop trust with you. This is one area even the best of people has trouble with, but it can be done with conscious effort.

Spend five minutes at the end of each week, or at least each month, thinking about and maybe even documenting, what you've done to improve your working relationships. The simple act of smiling more, choosing to be more positive, more inclusive, more tolerant and fairer can elevate the overall culture and improve working relations at every level.

Most of all, be sincere, fair, and transparent, this creates an increased level of trust among all working relationships.

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