Forming stronger relationships with co-workers can not only make work more enjoyable, it can lead to significant forward strides in one’s success. Conversely, the inability to gain the acceptance of other workers can damage one’s ability to execute on daily tasks.
It is very rare that anyone can reach their goals without others in the office. Follow the below tips and you won’t have to try.
1. Make your co-workers feel important – Everyone, regardless of title, industry or pay, craves the need to feel important. Without exception, it’s part of human nature.
When we think about it, we have the same needs, however rarely do we put ourselves in others’ shoes and determine the ways in which that person gets their feeling of significance.
Simple things like saying hello to everyone at work, showing appreciation where appreciation is due and recognizing all opinions will have you forming stronger bonds with your co-workers.
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2. Speak in terms of what the other person wants – We all take actions because we want to obtain a particular goal. Regardless of how big or small, your co-workers’ actions spring out of what they fundamentally desire.
Figure out what they want, speak in terms of the benefits they will receive when doing a particular action, and you should see the other individuals in the office begin to act more amicably towards you.
3. Take a sincere interest in your co-workers – Often, professionals fail to see that speaking about themselves gets little to no reaction. Though, when they begin to ask about others in the office, they tend to have a more receptive conversation.
If you want to form more meaningful relationships in the office, stop using the word “I.” Remember, it is the individual who is not interested in their fellow employees who has the most difficult career. This is regardless of natural talent.
4. Start doing things for others – The best way to gain favor with other people in the office is to put yourself out to do things for other people.
This can be as small as greeting them with enthusiasm and animation or remembering someone’s birthday. Sometimes, it’s the small things that get others to begin to warm up to us.
5. Smile – The expression on your face can either show that you welcome interaction with others or that you are aloof to the others’ need for importance.
Actions speak louder than words and a warm smile tells your colleagues that you are glad to see them. Again, it’s the small things that form lasting bonds and win others over to your way of thinking.
Professor James V. McConnell, a psychologist formerly at the University of Michigan found that “[p]eople who smile tend to manage, teach and sell more effectively.”
6. When you speak, ask questions and listen – Most conversations around the office tend to have little listening, as many co-workers are too engaged in what they are going to say next.
This type of communication leads to misunderstandings, poor collaboration and often results in strained relationships around the office. What some fail to understand is the most effective form of communication is asking questions and listening to the answers.
7. Make suggestions rather than express opinions – One of the most effective ways to get a co-worker (or anyone in your life) to take a particular action or agree to an idea is to suggest and let them draw their own conclusion.
Nobody likes to feel as if they are being sold something. Rather, people are more receptive when there is an exchange of ideas. The best salespeople make a person feel that the idea was their own.
8. Don’t tell people that they are wrong – Beside #5, this is probably the easiest improvement you can make when it comes to your office relationships.
While anyone can condemn, it is the truly successful who try to understand the other person. We are animals driven by pride and vanity. We diminish a co-worker’s perceived obligation to us when we scold or make fun of them.
Remember that great conversation is achieved when we show respect and consideration for others’ ideas. If you acknowledge your co-workers’ viewpoint and they will return the favor.
9. When you’re wrong, admit it – When you apologize for doing the wrong thing (whether it be significant or a minor detail) and sympathize with the point of view of the other employee(s), you disarm potential hard feelings and strengthen your relationship.
Excuses raise tempers. Apologies and sympathy calm any hard feelings.
10. If you must criticize, do it the right way – If you have to criticize, which we sometimes do, try not to do it in front of the entire office. Keep it between you and the co-worker.
Also, a great trick is to compliment the individual before you touch upon how they were wrong. For instance, “You did a great job on x account. Going forward, I would suggest that you tweak y and you should see more efficient selling power than you are now.”
In the End
It is nearly impossible to achieve everything you want on your own. While it takes practice and discipline to become better with others, it will pay you back both literally and figuratively.
Ken Sundheim is the CEO of KAS Placement a recruiting firm based out of New York City.