How to Be On Good Terms with Colleagues

In: How To

The importance of good relationships at work is hard to overestimate. Employers prefer their staff to work in a team rather than individually due to a well-known synergy effect that allows the team to achieve more than a group of individuals. This is often reflected in job listings – ‘team player’ is a common trait employers expect the candidates to have regardless of the industry. Whether you work for a multinational corporation or a small local business, good relationships in the office help us be more productive and feel happier with the job in general.

This doesn’t mean that you should become everyone’s best friend, though. Moreover, you might have one or several difficult coworkers that you struggle to get along with. However, it is possible to strengthen the relationships even with difficult people and work well as a part of the team. Today, our professional resume cover letter writer shares some insights on how to build healthy and positive workplace interactions.

Getting along well with colleagues: why it’s important

Apart from better productivity, being on a good note with people you work closely with has several undisputable benefits. Here are just some of them:

  • Higher job satisfaction
    Multiple studies show that people who have positive interactions with co-workers and boss are typically happier with their job than those who don’t. And it’s not surprising: we spend more time at work than we do with our friends and loved ones, and the quality of communication has a significant impact on how we feel about the job in general.
    However, if you do get on well with co-workers but still feel unhappy with your job, it might be the wrong choice of company or career. Here are some tips to find out whether your job is right for you: http://resumeperk.com/blog/how-to-know-if-your-job-is-right-for-you.
  • Environment that encourages growth
    To fully realize our career potential, we all need the environment that would foster the growth. When we feel comfortable around the colleagues, we are more willing to take on risks, come up with creative ideas and work harder than we would in an unhealthy environment.
    Personal development at the workplace depends on many factors, and good relationships with colleagues are just one of them. Find out more about growing as a personality at the workplace: http://resumeperk.com/blog/importance-of-personal-development-in-the-workplace.
  • Spending time and energy productively
    In a toxic working environment, it takes a lot of time and effort to overcome the problems associated with negative relationships. A simple meeting minute or a working discussion can turn into a challenge that discourages the entire team and slows down the productivity of the department. On the contrary, when relationships are good in general, people can breathe out and focus solely on the working tasks and seek the opportunities for career growth.
    Feel that you’re running out of energy in the office? Here are some quick ideas on how to regain motivation to keep going: http://resumeperk.com/blog/simple-ideas-to-regain-motivation-for-working.  
  • More opportunities for a promotion
    However obvious this may sound people prefer working with someone they know well and trust. When you are polite, open and friendly, people start considering you as a primary point of contact in your area of expertise. What does it mean for your professional growth? The more people want to deal with you, the more work you have and the more opportunities for a promotion you get. In this regard, it’s also important to build relationships with your boss so they wouldn’t doubt your professionalism and see you’re the right personality to take on more responsibility.
    Are you an ambitious individual looking to work your way up the career ladder? Check out these career building tips: http://resumeperk.com/blog/climbing-career-ladder-all-is-fair.
  • Wide professional network
    Getting along well with other people you interact with professionally (such as clients, vendors, company’s stakeholders) is as important as being on a good note with people you share an office with. Displaying courtesy, enthusiasm and professionalism are the best ways to expand your professional network and therefore get more opportunities. For instance, someone outside of the organization who you deal with can give you a better job offer.
    Getting on well with others is closely connected with understanding and following the modern office etiquette. If ‘office etiquette’ sounds like Greek to you, you’ll definitely benefits from learning the etiquette basics: http://resumeperk.com/blog/lifeline-for-newcomers-unspoken-rules-of-office-etiquette.

Not happy with your current job despite all your relationship building efforts? Then, it’s time to get your resume updated professionally. Our writers offer a wide range of resume services to further your career and are ready to assist you anytime.

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Building great relationships in the workplace

Long story short, good relationships in the office relieve you from stress, help you be more productive and give you more chances for career growth as people like working with you and are ready to help you. If your communication at work leaves much to be desired, it’s high time that you’ve put extra effort into building quality relationships with coworkers and senior management. Here are a few tips that will change the quality of your communication at the office:

  1. Start the day with a friendly greeting
    As you are entering the office in the morning or passing by someone in a hallway, smile, say ‘hello’ and shake hand if appropriate. This common courtesy will put you across as a friendly person, and it doesn’t cost you anything. If you aren’t running late, it’s also a good idea to stop by a colleague for a minute or two and have a small talk.
    Positive and friendly attitude will go you a long way if you need help of this person later that day. By greeting the person in the morning, you lay the foundation for quality cooperation.
  2. Develop your soft skills
    Your ability to make people in the office like you heavily depends on your communication abilities. If in any company you’ve worked for you struggled to build positive working relationships, you might need to work on your soft skills.
    What are soft skills? Basically, these are the attributes that define how well we collaborate with others in different situations. For instance, working towards the solution of a particular problem and responding appropriately to workplace criticism are both skills you should learn to function effectively as a part of the team. To develop your soft skills, start by analyzing your weak points (it may be the difficulty conveying your idea to your boss) and using them as primary areas for growth. In addition to making you more likeable in the office, good soft skills also help you succeed in a group interview if you are looking for a job.
    Would you like to know the traits which make a perfect employee? Here are the top attributes of the perfect candidate: http://resumeperk.com/blog/watch-and-learn-top-15-qualities-of-the-ideal-employee.
  3. Take your time to know the colleagues better
    At work, everyone is supposed to be busy, so distracting the colleague working next to you for a quick chat isn’t the best idea. However, if your current relationships with coworkers leave much to be desired, it’s high time that you started taking steps towards improving them. Use the lunch time or breaks to get to know the people around you better – initiate a small talk, invite them out for coffee or discuss the working situation casually. You can also comment or like a coworker’s posting in social media. Devote your breaks at work to getting to know others, and soon they’ll feel more comfortable working with you. Corporate parties are a great place to know your colleagues in person either.
  4. Respect the diversity
    Today, employers are willing to hire specialists of diverse nationalities, ethnical and cultural background. Your ability to build positive working relationships will also depend on how well you communicate with diverse people, avoid sensitive subjects of conversation and respect the opinions which are different from yours.
    Most importantly, if you’re in the leadership role, you should treat everyone equally regarding of their background. This will foster positive relationships in a team and increase productivity accordingly.
  5. Be helpful and supportive
    To maintain good relationships in the office don’t turn away when your colleague needs help. Be it mentoring a newly hired team member, helping someone out with the software or giving a piece of advice, willingness to help others is one of the best ways to build mindful and trusted relationships. Moreover, if you need help, those people are likely to give you a favor in return.
    When helping others, however, be sure to manage your boundaries. Willingness to help doesn’t mean doing the job for others, and it’s a good thing only as long as it doesn’t interfere with your productivity. Even friends for hire shouldn’t monopolize your time – do your job at the first place, and help others in the remaining time.
  6. Avoid gossiping about your coworkers
    Gossip in the office is one of the top things that destroy productive environment and create tension and mistrust in the office. Although it might be tempting to share your emotions about someone with a colleague working next door to you, keep in mind that it will do any good to your career.
    If there’s a problem with your coworker, it’s better to talk to them directly or to discuss the issue with your boss if this problem affects the company. While a straightforward discussion of a conflict or issue leads to resolving it, spreading the word behind the person’s back can only accelerate it and even lead to destroyed professional reputation or dismissal.
    Choosing the subject of conversation at work is the key to building strong professional relationships. Be sure to avoid the taboo topics at work which can affect your relationships with colleagues negatively.
  7. Use effective methods of communication
    There are lots of ways of communication in the office, from in-person conversations to phone, e-mail and live chats like Hangouts. Preferred communication methods are usually set by the company (or there’s an unspoken rule in your department on how to communicate on working matters). For building workplace relationships which are positive and mutually beneficial, it’s important that you master the rules of effective communication. Here are just some of them:
    1. Use different communications with different people and vary them depending on the situation. Some people prefer being contacted via e-mail to keep the track record of the subject matter discussion while the others prefer talking to you in person. If you know for sure which method of communication works best for your interlocutor, stick to it. The context is important, too – if the client is waiting for your response online, a quick call makes more sense than composing an e-mail.
    2. Learn the rules of e-mail communication. Communication via e-mail deserves special attention since e-mail allows tracking all your conversations and discussions. Moreover, choosing the right strategy facilitates quicker resolution of your issue. First of all, make sure that the subject line is helpful and provides an insight into the letter’s content. Secondly, keep the letter itself short and up to the point – leave the lengthy writing for private e-mails. Thirdly, if you add someone to a conversation, let them know why so they could get involved in a discussion and know how they can contribute. And finally, when composing a new letter, don’t continue the previous thread with the person to avoid confusion in the future.
  8. Learn to collaborate
    Effective collaboration in the group projects is a challenge and the test for your people skills. It’s easy to be on a good note with someone you occasionally have lunch with, but when there’s a conflict of interests in a project, things are getting tense.
    To build and strengthen relationships with colleagues while working on the project, you’ll need great communication, active listening, and conflict resolution skills. Respecting others’ points of view, not getting too emotional when everything doesn’t go to plan and giving the credit to others for their contribution are must if you want to preserve good relationships after the project is complete.
    Also, be sure to appreciate your coworkers for their contribution or accomplishments. Acknowledging that your colleague has done a great job is the great way to strengthen your relationships. If you feel that your work is not valued and your accomplishments aren’t appreciated, this may be a sign that it’s time to quit your job.
  9. Look for answer yourself before asking for help
    As you work in a team, it’s totally okay to ask for help or advice if you don’t know something. Most people are wiling to help especially if you’re new in the team. However, avoid wasting their time by asking something obvious that you could look up for yourself.
    So, anytime you need help, start by doing your homework. Look for the answer or a solution to your issue in the corporate manual or via Google, and only if you didn’t manage to figure things out by yourself, go and ask someone. If you bother your coworkers every time with minor problems, soon they’ll start avoiding you and all your efforts to build friendly relationships will come to nothing. Instead, show that you’ve taken your time to resolve a problem before referring to them – this will showcase your motivation and contribute to your professional image.
  10. Be cautious with social media
    Popular social media such as Facebook or Instagram are mostly used for casual conversations or chit-chats. However, if you use social media to connect with your co-workers, it doesn’t mean that the conversations there can be as casual as if you were talking to a school friend.
    The fact that you don’t use corporate mail doesn’t mean that you can neglect the general rules of professional communication.
    Just as you avoid gossiping, discussing your private life or badmouthing your boss by the cooler, don’t get engaged in inappropriate conversations of any kind in social media. Before sending a message or posting something, think about what might happen if your boss or company’s CEO get their eyes on this. Remember that social media can make or break your career and act accordingly even when you’re out of the office.
  11. Be empathetic and listen actively
    To get the job done, it’s enough to know and stick to the rules of effective communication at the workplace. However, strong and friendly relationships at work are impossible without being empathetic and showing genuine interest to others. So, when working on a project together or talking during the lunch, try being attentive to the feelings and emotions of others and show that you understand them. Practice active listening – this will help you gain a reputation of a person who can be trusted and facilitate the quicker resolution of any working issues.
  12. Participate in activities outside of work
    As you are getting to know your colleagues, you may find out that you share the common interests outside of work. Similar interests are great for turning your relationships from formal to friendly ones. Don’t hesitate to invite your colleague out in the evening or weekend to discuss your hobby or just to have a walk in the park. Be ready to help if your coworker has any issue in their private life. Participate in team building activities and corporate events – some attend them only because it’s mandatory, but you can take advantage of them by meeting new people and building stronger relationships with people you already know.
    Feeling unmotivated for any activity outside of work? Check out how to find the lost inspiration

Building positive, trusted relationships with coworkers take time and effort, but it’s worth it as good relationships will help you be more productive and happy with the job. It often takes just a common courtesy and the sincere interest to others to significantly improve the way you communicate in the workplace.

Have you reached the glass ceiling at your current job and feel that it’s time to move on? Before you start applying for jobs, make sure your resume is up to scratch. Consult our experienced resume writers or get your resume written for the higher efficiency of your job-hunting process.

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Communication mistakes in the workplace

Poor communication often serves as a source of conflicts and interferes with the working process, reducing productivity and satisfaction of the whole team. Moreover, it affects the quality of interpersonal relationships. To ensure the clarity of communication and avoid misunderstandings, be sure to follow the tips below:

  • Using an email to discuss critical or touchy subjects
    Email is a preferred method of communication for many companies as it allows group discussions and tracking of the communication process. Nevertheless, email has its disadvantages, and the biggest one is that it doesn’t convey a tone of voice and body language. That’s why email works great when you need to give a quick response, share a file or outline the task. When discussing some sort of a touchy subject when non-verbal communication signals matter, however, it’s better not to use it as it can distort the original message. Use the phone or Skype if your interlocutor is located far away, or schedule a face-to-face meeting.
  • Sending a letter (or your work) without proofreading
    When composing a lengthy email in a rush, we rarely take time to proofread the letter before hitting the “Send” button. Meanwhile, a letter sent with grammar, punctuation errors or typos makes you look as inattentive to detail or simply careless about the customer or your colleagues. Both of these impressions make negative impact on your professional image. Even if you hurry, take a minute or two to read the letter, correct the mistakes and paraphrase the sentences which don’t sound right.
    If you’re applying for jobs now, check out the common punctuation errors on resume and how to fix them.
  • Failure to interpret the cross-cultural signals of communication
    When dealing with overseas clients or contractors, it’s important to educate yourself about the local business rules. From the way of addressing others and writing time and date to using idioms, international business communication is a potential hazard if you don’t know the rules of the game. So, before communicating with someone from abroad, be sure to learn as more as possible about the local business etiquette to avoid the confusion.
  • Not preparing for communication
    Of course, discussion of the routine working moments doesn’t require preparation. However, being unprepared for presentations or meetings is a bad etiquette. When you are supposed to speak in the front of an audience, they expect to hear new creative ideas or the new vision of the existing ones. Failure to prepare in advance makes your message weak and your ideas not convincing. If you lack confidence, practice speaking in front of the mirror and think of the ways to engage the audience. As they say, the best improvisation is prepared improvisation.
    Lack courage to speak in front of an audience? Learn how to become more initiative in the workplace and how your career can benefit from it.
  • Not listening carefully
    Active listening is one of the most important communication skills in the workplace. It helps you to fully comprehend the message of your colleague or boss and minimizes misunderstanding, making communication in the office more effective.
    Interrupting others is another common mistake. By interrupting people you not only create communication problems imagining that you know what exactly they were trying to say, but also come across as a person with poor etiquette. So, when it comes to discussing working matters, be sure to listen attentively until your interlocutor conveys their message completely.

Effective communication, as well as good interpersonal relationships, affects all the processes within the organization. By avoiding communication mistakes and being more friendly and open in the office, you’ll strengthen professional relationships in the office and make your work more enjoyable.

Not happy at work? Time to get your resume updated

If despite all of your efforts your relationships with colleagues are still tense, it might be a sign that it’s time to look for a new job. To find the employment that meets your requirements and qualification, you’ll need an effective resume. If your current one is outdated, or you aren’t sure if it’s good enough to secure you an interview, contact our resume professionals for a free review or assistance with resume writing.

Our writer will create a brand new resume for you, reflecting your qualifications, experience and accomplishments in the most favorable light.  We understand the expectations of modern employers, which allow us to write effective resumes for applicants of any career level and industry. Moreover, we guarantee that you will be satisfied with a new resume – if something in the first draft doesn’t meet your requirements, the writer will make corrections free of charge.

Any questions about resume writing or job hunting? Read the questions about resume writing and job hunting answered by a professional resume writer or contact us anytime via live chat. We are open 24/7!

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