Connecting with your coworkers can be easy or hard. It may be more difficult for some than others, and vice versa. Yes, to an extent it is much like high school, but on a broader scale, connecting with your coworkers is really just a matter of creating a positive relationship.
All too often, we view our coworkers as friend or foe. While competition can drive you, it can also be your Achilles heel if not careful. You want to play nice and work well with your coworkers, because it is a mutually beneficial relationship. Here’s how:
Think Outside the Office
Chances are, you can’t quite go up to an already established work group (especially if you are the “new guy/girl”) and approach making friends preschool style. This can be seen as intrusive and well, strange, and isn’t likely to score you any points. Instead, simply make a concerted effort to mingle out of the office. Grab a quick coffee, a quick bite to eat, a quick drink after work. Ask them about their life and interests, but stay away from anything too personal. Signal you want to know them on a personal level in a casual way.
Sometimes, yes, you will complain. So will your coworkers. It’s common. It’s natural. It happens. What you want to avoid is doing just that, all the time. Yes, work may be stressful, but you want to avoid dumping all your worries and troubles on those you work with. It may make them uncomfortable and distant. Focus instead common ground you have. What begins as small talk can easily build a lasting relationship.
You can’t do everything on your own. The same goes for coworkers. Ask them for help and offer yours. Don’t say, “oh, can you do this for me.” Instead, ask them to review something for you and signify you value their input and opinions. This will earn their respect and make them feel valued, further cultivating a friendship. Collaboration is a key factor in workplace success. Period.
Above all, remember to be nice and sincere. Don’t be pushy. Don’t be a know it all. Don’t hog all the glory. Treat your coworkers as valuable team members and they will do the same.
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