Whether you use the term “team” in your office or not, all workplaces are essentially a team of people working together toward shared goals. As humans, we all want and need to feel secure in our jobs, and that includes the security we find when we respect, trust, and even like our coworkers. While there will always be friction or disagreements, there are things we can actively do to create positive working relationships with those around us. Here are just a few suggestions for creating an environment where positive working relationships can thrive:
Actively Welcome New Hires
No one wants to come to their first day of work and feel like an outsider. The better and more quickly a new employee is accepted as one of the team, the more quickly they can become a productive member of the team. Be courteous, show them around, invite them to lunch with the group – let them see that work relationships are a priority in the office. Remember that positions can change, but the work relationships you nurture will be there when you need them.
Use Communication Tools Wisely
It is important to not only know when to use email versus the phone based on the type of message you are trying to convey, but you must also get to know the preferred communication styles of people you work closely with. Do they prefer to receive things in writing so they can keep track of new requests? Or do you find that they understand a concept more quickly when you show them in person? Don’t just go straight for the method that you prefer, or to the method that is the quickest. Find the best way to reach someone, reevaluating this method each time.
Respect Other People’s Time
Whether you are a VP or a part-time clerk, your job involves managing your time. The quickest way to frustrate your coworker or employee is to take up their time for something they don’t feel is important or pertaining to what they need to focus on. Respecting another persons’ time means that you should not unnecessarily use their time – even if you are the boss – by being late, scheduling spurious “emergency” meetings or just lingering around their office wanting to chat. Be careful not to cross the boundary between personal time and company time. If you need them to work or even just discuss work on their own time, acknowledge it and ask if it is okay. Definitely thank them if they go beyond their normal duty and give of their personal time. They will remember it.
Strive to Bring Out the Best in Others
What is the difference between a positive team and a team full of conflict and strife? The positive team members actively work to lift each other up and bring out the best in one another. They understand that by helping others build on their strengths, they help to build up the potential of the whole team. Teams who are jealous and competitive will inevitably self-destruct as the members cut each other down little by little.
Building positive working relationships are good for the team, as well as each individual within the team. It is a win-win. You never know when you yourself will need some support from your coworkers. It always pays to have good, positive relationships in your office.