Work is better when you like your co-workers — and better still when they reciprocate the feeling. Not only do you spend a lot of time together, but you’ll find that asking for assistance — and receiving it — is easier when you have developed and maintained good relationships with colleagues. More than that, co-workers that like you are far more likely to recommend you for important projects, presentations, and even promotions.
We can’t promise these tips will make you win popularity contests, or transform co-workers into BFFs, but following these recommendations will net you respect and good will.
1. Be nice: Does that sound like a wimpy recommendation? Not so! Being nice is hard — how much more fun to drop a snarky comment, share scandalous gossip, or focus on your own needs above your colleague’s. That makes it all the more memorable when you spend a few minutes showing a co-worker how to use the finicky printer. Here are a few simple things to keep in mind:
- Smile and make eye contact: When co-workers approach your desk with questions, pause your work and make eye contact while you chat. Smile when you see people while walking around the office. These small things can make a big difference.
- Show interest: Display good manners — say good morning, for instance, and ask if others want a drink if you’re going on a coffee run. Be the person that remembers a birthday, asks after a sick parent, etc., while still respecting co-workers’ boundaries and privacy.
- Give compliments: Don’t overdo or be insincere. But if someone does a good job — whether it’s wrangling a hissing cat at the vet’s or wowing clients during a presentation — an acknowledgment will feel meaningful.
- Say thank you: If someone does you a favor, say thank you. Good manners count at workplaces!
2. Don’t be the blocker: Make it your office resolution to never cause hold-ups. Respond to emails quickly; deliver work on time. Tell co-workers what you’ll do — and then as you’ve promised.
3. Lend a hand: Everyone needs some help sometimes. Whether it’s a quick review of a co-worker’s email to check for typos or staying twenty minutes late one night to arrange chairs for a meeting, be helpful and share your time and skills with co-workers. These favors will be appreciated (and perhaps someday reciprocated).
4. Propose solutions: It’s easy to complain, but harder to problem-solve. A good shared complaint session can be a good way to foster a connection and build friendship. But what makes someone a good co-worker and desired teammate is moving past shared frustration to solutions. For example, if everyone is in agony working on the day before the holiday, step up and propose an early dismissal to your manager.
5. Don’t hog the credit: You may impress your manager if you claim sole responsibility for a big project, but this behavior can destroy co-workers’ respect. If you shared the work, make sure to also share the credit. In fact, bring up co-worker contributions — if you’re sending around a launch email, include a thank-you to all the participants that made the launch possible. You can also always email a co-worker’s manager, to share how helpful the person was, even if there wasn’t a major event.
More Advice for Smooth Co-Worker Relationships:
- How to Handle an Office Romance
- Tips for Building Relationships as You Leave a Job
- 5 Ways to Handle Workplace Gossip
- Do’s and Don’ts at the Office