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 do you need to do to get along with your colleagues better?
The truth of the matter is that not everyone is going to like you. If you try too hard to have your colleagues like you, it may work the opposite, turning them off. Your colleagues will be able to sniff out your 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 flaws, recognise your worth as an individual and how much you have to offer to your workplace.
Valuing yourself better will enable you to appreciate your co-workers better. For instance, this would help the occasional co-worker who puts forward a cold shoulder whenever you try to be friends with them professionally. In saying that, steer away from automatically assuming that “the other person has the problem” it may be that your personality and approach to communicating with others need refinement.
Two ways can help you achieve the 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 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 is a good way of having something to talk about. But, 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 essential skill is to be able to keep the conversation flowing. For example, 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, respond by saying how it was and what you did. Doing so 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 you are either not interested in or have little idea about? Even so, the other person will think favourably of you if you ask them questions and show interest in what they have to say.
Show personal yet professional interest in your colleagues.
Personal interest on a professional level, by definition, is about being attentive to concerns and being curious about your colleagues. You can show this through making yourself available to help and using encouraging words such as ‘you should be proud of yourself ‘, That’s impressive’ or ‘Wish I was as good as you’ and so forth. Furthermore, if you make it a goal of genuinely expressing praise to your co-workers, you can expect them to do also to you.
The basic principle to making others like you is to tell them what they want to hear and show them what they want to see.
You tell your colleagues what they want to hear by praising them and their work, saying things like “I wish I were as smart as you” and “You’re going to go far in this company” this is what they want to hear! They also want to see you praising them to the boss, making mistakes, asking them for help, and not trying to seek attention from others in the office. They want to see genuineness, accountability and respect from you.
Make it also a goal of giving your time and energy to your colleagues. This will impress them greatly. If you are working, and your colleague comes up to you and explains how they solved a work-related issue, sacrifice five minutes of your time to listen to what they say by dropping everything you have in your hands and turning your body towards them. Of course, if you are busy at work and cannot spare 5 minutes, explain to them that you are flat out but would be interested in hearing about it, possibly over lunch or at another suitable time.
You can get along with your colleagues better!
Often the reason why we have a hard getting along with certain people is simply that there is a clash of personalities. Generally, personality clashes centre around two colleagues with strong personalities.
If you find yourself having a hard time getting along with someone at work with a strong personality, remember that blaming the other person will only result in a vicious circle, with each individual not giving in.
The best thing to do in that situation is to realise that it takes the stronger person to back down and show humility.
Clashes between individuals with strong personalities at work usually begin like a tiny leak on a submerged submarine. Sooner or later, the crack becomes bigger and bigger, finally bursting a hole in the vessel and flooding it. So likewise, if you find yourself about to explode with angry words, it would be best for you to walk away physically. The potential for personality clashes will always be there, so it is your responsibility to avoid them at all costs.
Every colleague is different, so building a relationship with them can be very challenging. But trying your hardest to get along with all of your colleagues despite differing personalities, some more extreme than others, will make an impression on your colleagues, and they will go out of their way to get along with you too. It just takes the bigger person. So it might as well be you.