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 coworker 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.
- What type of working relationship do I have with my coworkers, 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 coworkers?
- Do I know and value what my coworkers think of me?
- How much time do I contribute to building relationships at work?
- How supportive am I as a coworker?
- Am I trustworthy?
- What are things I might need to work on, and do I put effort into doing so?
- 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 Coworker
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 coworkers, 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 water cooler to ask how someone's weekend went or how their day is going.
- Bring in treats to share with coworkers. (Make sure to ask about allergies to avoid leaving someone out.)
- Offer to do something nice from time to time. Even a small gesture, like pouring coffee for someone or bringing someone their photocopying when you're at the copier, goes a long way.
- Stop by to say “hi" to coworkers or employees to get to know them better, instead of just for work.
- Show a genuine interest in coworkers; ask about, their interests, hobbies, pets, families etc. (make sure not to pry too much if they aren't receptive).
- Be supportive when co-workers and employees need support.
- Make the effort to remember what coworkers 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.
- At the end of the week, ask if they have plans for the weekend and share your own plans.
- 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.
- Ask for direct feedback in areas you might need improvement. Remember to ask coworkers about their work preferences, such as communication and collaboration methods.
- As tempting as it may be, try to avoid being pulled into gossip or favoritism 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 have 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 fair 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.