How do I get along with my colleagues better?

The following article is written by Matthew Coppola, Australian Career Coach and Employment Consultant. If you are interested in inviting him to speak at any events/conferences, please feel free to contact us.

Do you sometimes feel that no matter how hard you try to be friends, you manage to turn off some of your co-workers? What then do you need to do to be able to get along with your colleagues better? The truth of the matter is, not everyone is going to like you. This is a sad reality of life that we must all accept. If you try too hard to have your colleagues like you, it may actually work the opposite, actually turning them off. Your colleagues will be able to sniff out the insecurity from you. So how do you then deal with this dilemma?

The answer is to treat your co-workers as you would treat yourself. Although you have your own flaws, recognize your own worth as an individual and how much you have to offer to your workplace. By valuing yourself better, it will enable you to be able to value your co-workers better. For instance this would help in dealing with the occasional co-worker who puts forward a cold shoulder whenever you try to be friends with them on a professional level. In saying that, steer away from automatically assuming that “the other person has the problem” it may be that your personality and approach in communicating to others needs refinement.

There are two ways that can help you in making a goal of getting along better with your colleagues. These are:

  • Try and improve your conversation skills

  • Show personal, yet professional interest in your colleagues

Improving your conversation skills

People like those who can converse well in meetings, networking functions, and amongst co-workers. Improving your conversation skills starts with having something worthwhile to say, that is, to think before you speak. It is good to be able to talk about a wide variety of subjects. For example, you might want to keep up to date with news and current affairs or innovations and changes in your industry. Reading industry focused magazines and newsletters are a good way of having something to talk about. Whatever you speak about, try and avoid three things – making your conversations more about yourself and not the other person, negative talk and gossiping about other staff members.

Another important skill is to be able to keep the conversation flowing. If a co-worker or manager asks you a question or says something to you in conversation, don’t kill the discussion with a yes or a no answer, instead reply in full. For example, if a colleague asks you how your weekend was, reply in saying how it was and what you did. This then opens the door for further discussion and allows the opportunity for you to ask your co-worker a similar question. Do you ever find that people bring up subjects that you are either not interested in or have little idea about it? Even so, the other person will think favourably upon you if you ask them questions and show interest in what they have to say.

Show personal, yet professional interest in your colleagues