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How To Get Along (Really Well) With Your Co-Workers

Everyone who has ever worked with other people has had to fine-tune his or her connecting skills. The objective in doing so is to get along with all of your co-workers: not just the friendly or most compatible ones.

There’s always a way to deal with even the most difficult of personalities.

Let’s look at a few basic skills that’ll lay the foundation for a good worker-to-worker rapport:

Take some time to analyze the situation: consider your co-worker’s personality, and his or her way of looking at things. Keep in mind that their way might be 180 degrees different from your way of looking at things.

If you take that time, and exercise a little insight and self-control, you’ll be able to perform at maximum capacity. We’re not saying it’s easy…but it IS perfectly doable.

It’s sometimes a bit of a tightrope walk to bring out the best in you and in others, in a group setting. A lot depends on how you’ve trained yourself to work cohesively in such a situation.

There are different TYPES of personalities, and, in the main, they more or less fall into the several recognizable categories.

Some people are shy – and you may need to reach out a bit more towards this type of personality. Be careful not to step on any toes, however. If the person backs off or doesn’t want to engage past the “good morning” and “good evening”, and you don’t have to work on a project with them, keep a respectful distance.

If you do have to work with this sort of person, let THEM call the shots as to what they’ll take on and what they won’t. Gently prod their participation with questions like: “Would you feel comfortable doing this part of the task, or this one?”

If the co-worker likes to coordinate things for others – consider letting them take responsibility for much more than you’d planned to. As long as you have confidence in their ability, it’s better to let them run the show. This personality type is suited to such an endeavor, and you’ll avoid butting heads by trying to control things yourself.

Management actually depends on this process of delegating—letting others do what you could, in all likelihood, do yourself. It’ll free you up to do other tasks.

If you’re dealing with someone who is bubbly and friendly – you’ll find she or he does amazingly well with all personalities. Problems or potential issues just seem to go over her or his head…and this is ideal when dealing with prickly co-workers. Confide in this person – you’ll find them easy to pal around with AND work with – but don’t fall into the trap of being overly chatty. It IS work, after all…you can socialize after-hours.

Once you have a grip on the sort of person you’re dealing with, it’s easier to be more attuned to their needs.

Practice empathy – Remember: you’ll score big points in the getting-along department just for being empathetic. That means that you’ll have to stop and think for a minute of how the other person is feeling. That helps in conflict situations, and it helps in smoothing the way for day-to-day dealings with all sorts of persons, no matter their personalities.

Don’t force the issue -Finally, don’t take it personally if you run into someone who seems to be resisting your efforts at getting along, or, if there’s been a misunderstanding, at reconciling, You might have accidentally triggered something in the other person’s psyche that you had no way of knowing about. It happens often!

If this is the case, all they might need is a little space for a day or two…or perhaps for an afternoon! Be sure to walk into work each morning with a big smile on your face; to think positive thoughts about the person, and to greet them as if they were your best friend.

It’ll help remove any residue of resentment on the part of the other person – whether real or imagined.

Here are a few additional helpful hints on connecting with ALL your co-workers:

As mentioned, take a moment to stop and say hello to all your co-workers. Stay positive and cheerful.
Keep lines of communications open. Go out of your way to let people know the status of projects and of their expected participation. Also, if it’s applicable, tell your team members your whereabouts. One oft-heard complaint in group settings is: “He (or she) doesn’t let me know when they’re going home or taking days off.” This one’s easy to overlook. Stay on top of what your co-workers may need and provide it –in fact, err on the side or caution and give out more information than might be needed.
Take the person or group’s temperature – study the dynamics involved and adjust your approach (and even your persona) as needed. Yes, you might be tempted to just pull out all the stops and “be yourself” from the get-go but the situation might not benefit from a full disclosure of all of your wonderful facets as a person! You might, for instance, need to tone it down if you tend to be bombastic or to give your opinion too quickly. Observe: see what is required to fit in. Once you’ve become a little better known to the person or group, and they’ve come to see the side of you they can work with, then you can lay out the entire game plan, or present the “Here’s Me, Folks – Unedited” version. By then, you will have sparked warm feelings, and bonded with several co-workers .
Try to be a helpful ally. Don’t set up obstacles to an assignment. Ask where your help might be most needed, if you’re not sure. As a matter of fact, it never hurts to ask anyway; you may not be aware of all the ways in which your assistance might be needed…nor of the ways in which it might be seen only as meddlesome.
Try to avoid letting your emotions run away with you. For the most part, you’ll quickly realize that saying or feeling things too intensely in an office environment (as is the case in any situation) will eventually lead to conflict. There are peaceful, non-combative ways in which to say things…while still maintaining your passion and zeal! The idea is to be true to yourself in a serene and well-disciplined manner. As a famous teacher once told his listeners (to paraphrase): He who controls his temper is mightier than a warrior, and he who has self-mastery is greater than one who captures an entire city.

It shouldn’t be too hard to figure out that a little patience will bring you the most productive results when dealing with co-workers of all stripes.

What’s the take-away here? It’s not as hard as it sounds…but you need to take the trouble to learn a few invaluable connecting skills.

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