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April 14th, 2016
It's not rocket science that having good working relationships is likely to increase work performance as well improve the quality and quantity of your teams work. Approximately we spend our 37 working hours a week (give or take) surrounded by our co-workers.
Because everyone has their role to play in a company, it is important for everyone to get along - not just for the sake of the work environment, but for the sake of the company and its success, too.
It may seem you have no common ground with a certain colleague, but somewhere along the line you will do. Ask open questions about their hobbies, where they were born, plans for the summer to help gage common interests where you can build at least some kind of working relationship with. Going forward, if you need a favour off the colleague, you can always open the conversation with, "So how was Barcelona?" then you will always start off on the right tone.
Respect is a biggie and has nothing to do with your position in the company. All employees should respect one another and use body language cues to make sure how you act and what you say around colleagues does not offend or annoy them. It can be the smallest things from inappropriate jokes to strong viewpoints about certain issues. (I've been in a team before where two colleagues fell out over a heated discussion over Inheritance Tax!) So be respectful of each other viewpoints and attitudes to life. Also be observant, if two colleagues are having a strong argument don't be afraid to step in as a mediator to settle the discussion.
We've all been there, you receive an e-mail from a colleague that makes you do a double-take and ask, and "Did they really just say that?" Remember sometimes how short and blunt emails can come across to colleagues and make sure that you always make yourself clear. As well face to face, make sure that you communicate clearly to colleagues, don't assume they are mind readers and will know exactly every step to complete a task.
When you think of customer service you might think of that being customer or client facing, however if you're in a non-customer facing role then your customer service should be to your colleagues. For example, if a colleague asks you a question that you don't know the answer to (it may even be that it's not really relevant to your role) try and think of who might be able to answer. If you have the time try find out the answer for them, or at least pass them in the right direction. This shows that you are conscientious and should the vice-versa happen, then hopefully this colleague will be helpful in return.
Some people might not know an appropriate way to build a good relationship with a fellow employee. Imagine all the different working backgrounds that colleagues come from, some are very corporate, some relaxed with a mixture of everything in between. For some colleagues who have been on one of the extreme coming into a new company it may be they are trying to find their feet so make sure you guide them in the right way.
Though it might be easier to build a relationship with a co-worker who is the same age as you or at the same stage of their career don't bypass those less senior to you. At ACS, we have lots of apprentices where the impression may be that they are learning and don't have much to pass on to more senior staff, where this is not the case at all. Our Technical apprentice has been invaluable to us recently in the Marketing department, giving us help with spreadsheets and the more technical side of Excel. I recently learnt how to implement a Macro which will save me hours of the next few months in cleansing marketing data!