You might not know it, but building healthy relationships with your co-workers is an important part of having a successful career. According to this article, co-workers spend ample amounts of time together, and sometimes develop personal relationships on top of their professional ones. This can be good for businesses because it can help companies create higher performance in the workplace.
In addition, very few companies have their employees work 100% independently, said career coach and author of 10 Ways To Improve Your Relationships With Your Boss (Or Anyone), Cecilia Harry. “We rely on others to contribute support, expertise, and other resources to best meet the needs of a client, fulfill the mission of the agency, or create a profit,” she said.
5 Ways To Build Relationships With Colleagues
Because everyone has their role to play in a company, it is important for everyone to get along – not just for the sake of the work environment, but for the sake of the company and its success, too. But how do you build relationships with co-workers to begin with? Here are five ways:
1. Be Honest And Communicate
“When it comes to building relationships with your co-workers, be open and honest,” said Harry.
Harry said she likes to encourage people to be honest with their co-workers about having a social relationship and communicate that you want to get to know them better in order to work better as a team.
“Some people see work as a place to show up, do what they are supposed to do, and go home,” she said. “Others see it as a place to spend half of their waking life and an opportunity to build social relationships.”
2. Be Likable
Sometimes being open and honest about building a relationship with your co-worker won’t get you the response you are looking for. However, don’t completely write-off someone who isn’t interested in building a relationship.
“Even if they don’t want to engage and build a friendly or social relationship, you may end up excluding them or devaluing them, and that ends up creating a negative relationship and possibly hurting the company,” said Harry. “Instead, be sure to keep them in the communication loop and still offer assistance and support to work-related tasks.”
3. Be Observant
Some people might now know an appropriate way to build a good relationship with a fellow employee.
“I encourage individuals to take a look at the company’s culture and use that as one of the factors to inform their decision regarding if and how to engage co-workers outside of regular work activities,” said Harry.
If you’re unsure about inviting a co-worker to grab some dinner after work, or go out for a run over the weekend, why not start small and ask them out to lunch? You don’t have a whole lot to lose and, if you have a good time, it can become a regular thing and help you grow as co-workers.
4. Find A Common Interest
For some, it can be a little awkward to get to know a complete stranger. However, Harry points out that at one point most of the people who we consider close friends were strangers to us at one point. This can provide some relief if you are feeling uneasy about befriending a co-worker you don’t know.
“Another way to make this a little easier is to focus on an interest you both have in common,” she said. “Perhaps you both own dogs, went to the same college, watch the same TV show, or have a grandchild in t-ball. This common interest can be a good foundation for a positive relationship.”
5. Don’t Be Afraid To Aim A Little Higher (Or Lower)
Though it might be easier to build a relationship with a co-worker who holds the same working status as you, it doesn’t mean you can’t try to build a relationship with a co-worker who outranks you – or even one you outrank – in the company.
“Mentor relationships in the workplace benefit both parties,” said Harry, “and the company gains when more employees are engaged and supporting each other.”
Harry also pointed out that ranks in companies do change. The person who was once in charge of you may not be if you’re someone who plans on growing within the company. If the ranks between co-workers are reversed, having already established a positive relationship makes the transition run more smoothly.
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