We spend more than half of our waking hours at work with our colleagues. It’s essential then that we build productive and rewarding relationships with them. Being able to get along with the people we work with can have several benefits, both in and out of the workplace.  

Working with other team members with whom you have a great work relationship can actually make work fun, which leads to better productivity and better results. You’ll feel more motivated and willing to go the extra mile and more relaxed and fulfilled post working hours. Good co-worker relationships can increase job satisfaction and positively impact the entire team’s wellbeing by creating a balanced, functional, supportive and happy work environment.  

If you want to get your colleagues to work with you better, here’s what you can do: 

Be approachable 

Being approachable is essential to building healthy relationships with your colleagues, and creating a strong team dynamic where everyone feels supported and trusted means ideas can be expressed freely.  Approachable colleagues foster a safe and judgement-free environment where collaboration thrives.

By making yourself appear approachable and available, using positive body language, effective listening skills and good verbal communication, you are ensuring an open line of communication.  

Give credit 

The golden rule of “treat others the way you want to be treated” always comes in handy. Let’s face it, we all want to be recognised and appreciated for our efforts. And the habit of giving credit is rewarding in more ways than you can imagine. By recognising the efforts of others, you, in turn, will be celebrated. 

Appreciate your colleagues when they come up with an idea and thank them so that they feel cherished and respected for their creativity and become more enthusiastic about sharing ideas with you in the future.  

Discover their problems and stressors 

Building a harmonious relationship with your colleagues is all about how effectively you can support each other. If your colleague seems to be in distress or their behaviour has suddenly changed, you should try to find the cause. 

If you can identify the problems your teammates are experiencing, you will be better able to help them find a solution. Above all, your efforts will reflect that you care and foster a stronger bond. 

Management suite isn’t always the solution 

Going straight to management might seem like an easy and reliable solution to your problems, but it is often not the ideal path. Complaining directly to your manager about a colleague without first communicating and attempting to resolve the issue between each other is not only time consuming but also breaks down trust, reduces productive engagement and usually makes the complainer appear negative.   

It also replaces the need to act – think of it like this: You could have instead communicated with your colleague, tried to find an amicable solution that would have given you an opportunity to learn and grow personally and strengthen your relationship with your fellow team members.  

Stop the gossip chain 

Although it may be tempting to share juicy details, resist the urge to talk about your co-workers regardless if what you are sharing is accurate or just a rumour. Gossiping will make you appear untrustworthy and leave your team members concerned that they may be victims of your next gossip.  

It might seem like a very casual and light topic. Still, it can have drastic consequences, from low productivity to a decline in mutual trust at work, and even cause serious mental health issues amongst your team members like anxiety, stress and depression. Instead, try to create a positive affirmation chain at your workplace; consider starting your day with morning huddles and reinforce the cultural values and key behaviours you want through story-telling. 

Develop active learning (and effective helping) skills 

Learning effective listening and helping skills is not easy. Like any other skill, one must sincerely understand the dos and don’ts of listening and act accordingly to become a better listener and bring sound personal as well as group development. It will not only shape your ethical values but also strengthen your personal philosophy, which is eventually going to bring changes in the attitude of others toward you and themselves, too, like a ripple effect. 

You and your colleagues are happy when you support each other’s respective goals. For any organisation or business, it is vital to have trust in each other. And so, in order to build trust, we must lend an ear, be honest and supportive, be non-judgmental, and encourage healthy communication. 

Build healthy boundaries 

Boundaries matter. The bitter idea of boundaries being selfish and rude is a thing of the past now. Setting and communicating healthy boundaries with your colleagues is one of the most courteous work etiquettes one can have today; if you do it with respect and grace.  

Boundaries at work are not meant to separate you from others. In fact, drawn well, they can strengthen and nourish the relationships you have. If you practice these guidelines while doing your best to grasp how your listener views the situation, your ability to be a fantastic team player will be one of the strongest assets in your leadership toolbox.