When starting a new job, you receive more than just a desk and list of responsibilities. Your company’s culture and how you fit into it are just as important. Your job will include colleagues who you’ll be working and interacting with every single day. Therefore, team work and collaboration are essential to excelling within any workplace. In a perfect world, you will bond with your team and build positive relationships. However, there may be times when you feel you do not fit in or get along with everyone. There is a lot to learn from from your colleagues, and it all starts with finding a productive way to coexist and collaborate.The art of being a great co-worker starts with you. Below are four ways you can connect with your colleagues to make meaningful relationships.

1. Avoid Gossip

Ideally when starting your new job you should attempt get to know and connect with everyone. At first this can be daunting and difficult, especially if you see or over hear co-workers complaining or venting about a fellow coworker. Your natural instincts may be to chime in on one of these inevitable gossip sessions. However, it is important to remember that gossiping is not productive and can cast a negative light onto your reputation, making you seem like an unreliable colleague. Gossiping disrupts the workplace and causes loss productivity. It can also hurt employees’ feelings, damage interpersonal relationships, and injure employee motivation and morale. Therefore, avoiding gossip should be number one on your list. But, if someone needs to vent, lend them an ear by giving them a chance to get couple of things off their chest. Active listening is an important skill that will help you to understand the situation better and arrive at a solution. Do not confuse gossiping with active listening.

2. Accept constructive criticism  

A lot of people are adverse to criticism, even though everyone knows a healthy dose of constructive criticism can be good for us. Sometimes, being at the receiving end of criticism may be uncomfortable to accept, especially if it feels like a personal attack or has to do with a personal trait. It is important to remember that very often other people see our behavior better than we do. Therefore, accepting constructive criticism is the key to rise within a company because it shows you are open minded and willing to improve.

3. Be Likable

Being well-liked by others is a great feeling and a confidence booster. When you would think of what it mean to be likable, a list of positive characteristics comes to mind such as being respectful, humble, kind, and having a positive attitude. Always keep in mind the “Golden Rule”, or treat others how you would like to be treated. If you want to be likable, you shouldn’t exclude or devalue others. This could foster a negative relationship and create a toxic work environment. Always keep everyone in the communication loop and offer your help and support for work-related tasks. (12 Ways to Become a More Likable Person at Work).

4. Provide Recognition

Everybody loves to be recognized for a well done job. But often times, we become wrapped up in our everyday lives, meaning small gestures of gratitude or recognition can be easily forgotten. There are couple of ways to recognize your colleagues. For example, if a team member is working hard on a project, applaud them. If your coworker did an amazing job on her presentation, send her a quick message to let her know how much you enjoyed it. Or, if your boss recognizes you for your own hard work on a project, highlight your coworker’s contributions as well. (Why is Employee Peer Recognition Important?)

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