5 Ways to Improve Your Work Relationships

Sometimes, you cannot choose who you work with. Coworkers are people you share a lot of time with, sometimes more than even your spouse. It is important to manage this relationship accordingly, so you can have a happier work environment. Here are a few tips based on the work of Psychologist Dr. Timothy J. Sharp on how you can improve your relationship with coworkers:

1. Write a Positive List

I know this sounds cheesy, but remembering what you value most about a person can help you be more appreciative. When you are appreciative, you are more likely to like the person. So why not write a list of your colleagues, and next to each name, write down what it is that you value about this person.

2. Be a Team Player

Positive relationships are based on interdependence between the two parties. Both know that they can count on each other when needed. When things get tough at work, make sure to be a supportive team member. Think about how best you can help, and match you skills to their needs. Put aside your differences and focus on the task at hand.

3. Focus on People’s Strengths

Realize that no one is perfect and that you are supposed to work together. So why not recognize that each and every person has unique qualities. Too often, frustration comes from both parties focusing on the other person’s faults. Unless you really need to react, ignore minor irritations and try to highlight the positives.

4. Communicate Effectively 

Communicating implies that both parties involved are engaged and have the same understanding of what is being discussed. This leads to more productive conversations and ease tensions where there is conflict. This means listening to what the other person has to say, and avoid cutting the person off.

5. Choose Your Words 

Stay away from passive or aggressive communication, and asses each situation. Dr. Sharp suggests a few strategies for you to communicate more effectively: Rather than saying this is how it should be it is usually best to say I would like. Or instead of saying you make me feel say when you did X, say I felt. Also, timing is of the essence, especially if the issue discussed is distressing. So if you are in a rush or just tired, have the conversation another time.

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Written by:
Camila has been heavily active in South Florida’s tech startup community, where she is a co-host of a local radio show called pFunkcast. Camila previously worked at Greenpeace International and the Organization of the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in various communication roles. A proud Brazilian who spent most of he life in Peru, she is passionate about traveling and documentaries.
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