According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American worker spends more time on the job each day (8.5 hours) than doing anything else, including leisure time (2.5 hours) or sleeping (7.7 hours). Given that we spend so much time at the office, it’s important that we learn how to improve working relationships on the job.
1. Keep Your Word.
If you want to demonstrate to management and your fellow employees that you are trustworthy, keep your word. Meet deadlines and follow through with projects/commitments when you say you will. This will speak volumes to others about your responsibility, and that is a trait management values above most else.
2. Be Flexible.
Each company has its own unique structure — whether there are multiple locations, a staff fewer than 25, international or regional. Regardless of the structure and environment, one thing is consistent: to be effective, you must be flexible. Adapting quickly to a changing working environment will save you stress as you stop trying to change what you cannot, and focus on new solutions and creative alternatives. At the very least, be open to others’ new ideas about changes, if you’re not at a place to offer new ideas yourself — a simple openness to new ideas usually offers enough flexibility to help the team move forward.
3. Appreciate Others’ Strengths.
Be aware of and appreciate others’ strengths. Within your work environment, you will notice a variety of skill sets — someone may be strong in communication, while another excels at research. Be careful not to measure your contributions against other people’s abilities — this may create feelings of superiority or inadequacy, depending on how you focus. In either case, it diminishes your ability to recognize and appreciate those around you. Acknowledging other’s abilities is part of building the team up.
4. Avoid Confrontational Non-work Issues.
In the workplace, avoid confrontational non-work issues. There really is no reason to bring up a political or religious topic if you know it has the potential to offend or frustrate those around you. It’s just common courtesy, folks! No one wants to quell your freedom of speech, but it should be tempered with respect — and in the workplace, bringing up such topics could prove counterproductive, not to mention awkward.
5. Develop a Positive Attitude.
The above ideas are also part of your attitude in general. If your unspoken attitude is negative, if you’re already lamenting, “One more day at this job…” on your way to work, even if you don’t speak those words, they will be expressed through your actions. Each day, try to find one aspect of the job that you appreciate. Try to look at a project through the eyes of the end users, how can you benefit their lives? Taking a “bigger picture” perspective — not just focusing on yourself, but on how you are part of something in a much larger picture — can very much help your attitude.