5 Ways to Get Along With Your Coworkers
It’s not a good feeling…that nagging, gnawing feeling that seems to flip your stomach in somersaults over and over again. It’s the feeling I always get when a relationship goes awry. It can be especially haunting when there is tension in a relationship in our places of work. After all forty hours a week is a long time to let that feeling twist inside of us. Regardless of the company or the environment in which we work, professional relationships can be difficult to navigate. While we often do not maintain deeply personal relationships with our coworkers, these are people with whom we collaborate, share ideas, and learn and grow in our field of study. Therefore, when these relationships are characterized by ruthless competition or cutting sarcasm, it is not only damaging for us personally, but for the greater mission of the organization. So how do we navigate these relationships in a way that allows us to press on toward our goals and stay confident in the person that we are?
1. Accept People For Who They Are
We can choose our friends, but most of the time, we don’t choose our coworkers. As a result, we are often teaming with people that do things differently than how we would choose to do. Additionally, while we may work closely with our team members, we don’t know their whole story…the pinnacle moments in their lives that shaped who they are and the ways that they cope in times of stress and insecurity. Rather than wishing away differences or spending our energy trying to change someone that we cannot. Accepting our coworkers for who they are will help us to appreciate people for what they do offer rather than limiting our focus to their shortcomings.
2. Look to Bring Out Their Strengths
Whether it is apparent or not, everyone has something to offer. Looking for opportunities to allow people to use their gifts, will not only create a more cohesive work environment, but also build confidence in the people we work with. People feel better about themselves when they are in situations where they can shine. When people feel good about what they can contribute, they are less likely to be reactive in ways that are hurtful and unhelpful.
3. Affirm … Even When It’s Hard
One of the most difficult things to do when we feel wronged by someone repeatedly is to affirm. While I am not suggesting empty platitudes as a means of manipulation, affirming the characteristics that you genuinely do appreciate can be a bridge in a relationship gone adrift. People feel safe when they know they are appreciated and are generally more likely to be positive and loving in return.
4. Take Yourself Out Of The Game
While it is important to do your very best in every aspect of your job, there is a difference between doing your best and engaging in personal competition with those that may feel threatened by your performance or competitive in relationships. Staying in your own lane and remaining solely competitive with yourself takes the power out of hurtful antics. Remaining focused on your own performance goals will help you remain confident in the truth of who you are rather than reacting out of feelings of insecurity.
5. Don’t Let Allow Yourself To Be Defined
As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” No matter what your experience is in your workplace, commit to defining your value apart from your performance or relationship status at work. Allowing others to put you in a box or define your value will hinder your sense of self worth and ultimately your performance. Instead, own your value in a way that empowers you to press on toward your dreams. Remember that there is no such thing as a “perfect person for the job.” The only perfect person is the person who has the vision and calling, and the courage to follow through.
Maintaining healthy relationships at work can be a difficult, but it’s a worthy investment both personally and professionally. Remembering that we cannot change other people, we are wise to focus on the ways that we can bring out the best in others, reaching out in ways that are helpful while pursuing our own goals and dreams.