Many of us spend more time with coworkers than we do with our family and friends, so it’s in our best interests to make the most of our work relationships. Your ability to develop positive, supportive liaisons also influences your ability to advance your career. These allies can be your greatest cheerleaders when you are being considered for a promotion or a new job.
Glassdoor Blogger Amy Elisa Jackson recently interviewed career coach Jenn DeWall about how to venture beyond happy hour small talk and build more authentic, professional connections with your coworkers that can also benefit your career.
Be Direct | Whether you’re a new manager or CEO, set up an informal get-to-know-you session with your direct reports and supervisors. Ask about their experience with the company and ask for permission to check in regarding any questions as you settle into your new position.
Express Gratitude, Humility | No one likes a know-it-all. Let your coworkers know you want to learn from them and support the team as a whole. Thank people along the way, especially those who have contributed to your orientation, training, and development. These moments of gratitude will benefit your work relationships tenfold in the future.
Listen, Observe First | Hold off expressing your opinions until you understand the company culture and what it took to get the business where it is today. Show that you respect your fellow employees’ decisions before adding your commentary or advice on improvements. Hitting a pause button from the beginning shows that you are starting from a place of trust, respect, and curiosity with your coworkers.
Be Honest, Accountable | Mistakes happen, but it’s never too late to apologize and make it right. Acknowledge your role in the situation and avoid playing the blame game. This may require setting up a private meeting with a coworker to apologize and clear the air.
Clarify Expectations | When changing workplace practices that have been in place for a long time and setting new goals, take it easy and allow employees to adjust to your new expectations. Being clear on these expectations up front will foster team confidence and greater project success.
Engage, Encourage | DeWall suggests senior leaders give positive recognition to their direct reports at least every two weeks. “People want to be seen at work. They want to know that they matter,” she says. When you praise employees, you are building their sense of value to the team. Employees who feel respected and valued are the ones who are more willing to go the extra mile.
Remember: Coworkers are Humans | Get to know your coworkers. They have interesting lives outside of the office too. Ask about their interests, favorite movies, personal lives, and hobbies. The better you understand who they are as humans, the better you can strengthen your work relationships and build authentic bonds.
Embrace Individuality | Know that we all have different backgrounds and experiences that make us individuals. Be courteous and respectful of differences and acknowledge that these traits are what make your company stronger, more relevant to the world around you.