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Improving Work Relationships

How often have you looked forward to your lunch or coffee break, so you could chat with your co-workers about your vacation plans or the movie you saw last weekend? Friendly conversation and work-related activities can help us develop special bonds in the workplace. In fact, many of us can probably think of at least one close friend whom we've met through work.

When a person forms positive relationships with co-workers, that individual typically enjoys his or her job more and is more productive. There are times, however, when establishing and maintaining a positive work relationship can be challenging, to say the least. If you want help improving your work relationships, here are a few tips:

Develop a Positive Attitude

Avoid negative thoughts and criticisms. Your positive approach can make a difference. Be less judgmental and more accepting of others. You will create a more positive work environment for yourself and your co-workers.

Don't Jump to Conclusions

Reacting defensively to situations without knowing the whole story can cause misunderstandings. Gather as much information as possible.

Improve Your Communication Skills

Listen carefully and focus on the speaker's message. This will allow you to respond appropriately and avoid misunderstandings. When the speaker is finished, state your understanding to ensure there isn't any misinterpretation.

Resolve Conflicts Early

When a negative situation does arise, don't let it fester. Be direct, but courteous. Develop a plan of action to address the problem with your co-worker. Then work together toward resolving it, before bringing it to your supervisor.

Set Boundaries

Developing friendships with co-workers is a natural process. However, it's important to set boundaries to ensure that the friendship doesn't interfere with your work. Focus on your priorities at work and try to limit personal discussions to lunch breaks or after work.

Treat All Co-Workers with Respect

Be respectful by paying attention, listening carefully and responding appropriately. Always be courteous and professional. Regardless of the situation, try not to lash out or be rude. Be open and honest about your feelings and allow others to do the same.

Understand and Accept Personal or Cultural Differences

When you and a co-worker don't see eye-to-eye, try looking at things from his or her perspective. You'll both be more productive if you recognize the need for cooperation to reach common goals.

Date reviewed: January 2013 
Reviewers: J. Klinger, J. Butterman

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