If you're like many people, you spend nearly as much time with co-workers as you do with family and friends outside of work. That's why it's worth making the effort to get along well with work mates and learn how to work together as a team.
Focus on appreciation
- Take time to recognize what each team member contributes to the shared goal. Remind each person how much his or her efforts are valued. We all thrive better in a setting where a job well done is acknowledged and appreciated.
- Send an e-mail or leave a voice mail message thanking a co-worker for going the extra mile. A handwritten note might be even more meaningful.
- Consider organizing a staff appreciation day or event.
Work through difficulties
- It may be tempting to avoid contact with people whose personalities clash with yours. But it's often worth trying to solve these issues, especially if you work with the person every day.
- If a conflict arises, speak to the person directly and express what you're feeling. Try to work it out yourselves before going to a supervisor. State how you view the situation to make sure you haven't misunderstood anything.
- Don't personalize the conflict. Instead, focus on the issue or task at hand. Use "I" statements instead of "you" statements. Rather than saying, "You misunderstood me," say, "I may have failed to make myself clear. This is what I meant." The latter is less accusing, and it comments on the action, not the person.
- You may find you need to change your approach with certain people. Using humor may help reduce stress and keep conflicts in perspective.
- There may be times when a situation escalates to a point where it could be threatening. Seek help if you feel intimidated, harassed, or afraid for your safety. Your company's human resources department or employee assistance program is a great place to start.
Do unto others...
- Courtesy goes a long way. Saying "please" and "thank you" can help foster good will.
- Treat co-workers the way you'd like to be treated. Remember that everyone has a bad day now and then.
- If you've offended a co-worker by mistake, a simple "I'm sorry" can do wonders to promote an atmosphere of mutual respect.
- Acknowledge holidays of different cultural groups so no one feels excluded.
It's all about attitude
- The workplace is made up of people of diverse races, ages, sexual orientation, spiritual and religious beliefs, cultures, personalities, and abilities. Learn how to use diversity as an asset to benefit your organization. Each person has unique gifts and contributions to make.
- Make room for individual differences. Give each co-worker the benefit of the doubt unless there is clear evidence to the contrary.
- Keep an open mind and stay positive. You may find this attitude is contagious.
Created on 02/05/2008
Updated on 07/08/2011
- University of California. Interacting with employees.
- University of Arkansas. Keeping a job - Getting along with people on the job.