One of the hardest things about working with other people is times when you don’t see eye to eye. Sometimes, this is the result of a complex problem that needs communication and problem solving to work through. Sometimes, this is the result of a difficult colleague. Before work becomes hard due to a difficult colleague. there are some things you can try to strengthen relationship with colleagues and make your work environment more peaceful to be in.
Avoid Office Gossip
Gossip is everyone’s worst enemy when it comes to inter-office relationships. You may feel like it’s harmless at the time, but spreading rumors and gossiping with others always has a way of making it back to the person that’s being spoken to. Hurt feelings can always lead to complicated situations and damaged trust between colleagues.
Keep Conversations Light
Small talk with those you work with is often a good idea. It gives you a little more insight into what they’re like, and what they enjoy doing outside of the workplace. However, this could become dangerous if the conversation becomes too heavy. Try to avoid topics that may be sensitive to some people, like religion or politics.
Find Ways to Socialize Outside of Work
Sometimes the stress of work and meeting deadlines gets in the way of people getting to know one another and bonding the way they usually would with friends. Finding ways to socialize and bond with coworkers outside of the office is important and it will strengthen relationship with colleagues. Suggest going to happy hour, or start a sports team. This way, people can be themselves and you can get to know them in a more relaxed environment.
Compliment Your Colleague
Sometimes office conflicts happen because people are on the defensive, and expect a barrage of criticism from their colleagues. You can help put them at ease and combat this expectation by finding situations to compliment them. If they did a good job on a project, let them know what you thought about it. If they do something particularly well, or had a trait you admire, find a casual way to let them know you think they’re great at what they do. When they see you’re on the same side, they’ll be more open to criticism and suggestions in the future.
Be Direct and Honest
Beating around the bush and alluding to things with vague statements will only leave the door open for misunderstandings and miscommunications. By being direct and honest with your colleagues, you will begin to build a relationship of trust and reliability that helps to strengthen the climate of teamwork amongst everyone in the work space.
Assume Best Intentions But Keep Accountability
The best way to think about others is to assume that they have the best intentions, but to also hold them accountable for the consequences of their actions. This means that when they mess up, or need potentially negative feedback from you, you’ll frame it as a positive correction rather than coming across like you’re blaming them for something they intentionally did. This will cut out a lot of conflicts based on tone and assumptions, and will help you to see your coworkers in a more positive way.
These tips work to create a happy and healthy work space, and are not just good for difficult people, but will also strengthen relationship with colleagues. Remember that your colleagues are people too, and have complex lives outside of work. Working as a team to solve problems will help build trust, and in turn create a positive environment.