Amongst the many aspects of your career that you’re in control of, the people you work with aren’t always one of them. Regardless of if they’re your favorite people in the world or just people you communicate with in the office, your ability to connect with them is a key to your success. From bringing donuts to the office (extra points if they have sprinkles) and complimenting Susan on her new hair color, your chances to leave a positive impression are endless. While every work environment is different, here are five ways to become a better coworker to your colleagues — while also forming lasting connections with them.
1. Break your unprofessional habits
It’s not your fault you were caught checking your phone from under your desk — there were concert tickets you had to win. And the time you turned in your report with salsa stains? It was Taco Tuesday and you were in a rush (you’re only human, okay?!). Naturally, we all have work habits we could refine. Despite what yours may be, you should be mindful of them and how they come off to others. By doing so, you’ll enhance how credible you are as a professional and how relatable you are as a person.
2. Put quality into your conversations
Small talk will help you start a conversation — but your willingness to learn details is what will create a connection. Listen to your coworker talk about his daughter’s birthday party, follow up about it the next week, and yes — you do want to see pictures when he asks. To keep it more professional, seek work-related opinions from your coworkers (such as feedback on your marketing pitch). Through taking the extra step to make your coworkers feel included, you’re reinforcing the relationship — and also showing you want to invest in it.
3. Show your appreciation
Whether you’re the coworker who surprises everyone with homemade cookies or the one who sends a birthday card to everyone on their birthday, your thoughtful actions are memorable and your relationships matter because of them. If you aren’t necessarily festive or enjoy celebrations, a simple “thank you” to a coworker who helps you with your continuous issues with the printer is enough to create a positive environment around the office and a sense of belonging within the company.
4. Give proper credit
Nothing will earn you trust with your coworkers the way giving credit will. In a competitive work environment where coworkers are sometimes deemed as competitors, it’s challenging to collaborate with others — while also staying authentic to yourself.
Maybe your coworker designed the majority of your well-recognized project or inspired the top-read article you recently wrote. Nonetheless, there’s progress that comes with teamwork and power in being able to differentiate your work from someone else’s. In giving appropriate credit to your coworkers, you’ll amplify the quality of your work and the relationships with the people who helped you accomplish the task at hand.
5. Share your skills
Your strength isn’t always found in how well you can use your skills, but how willing you are to share them with others. For instance, as the queen of social media around the office, you can post a photo on Instagram and get over 1K likes in an hour — without using the Valencia filter. Recognize this type of expertise and be open to offering your knowledge in regards to it. Through your sense of teamwork, you’ll partake in strengthening your skills and pave the way for others to assist you in learning new ones as well.