One of the most important hiring criteria for many companies is the ability to work as a team player—yet, so many of us have colleagues who don’t play well with others. “A department, or company, that works well together, has the most success together. When you enjoy working with your colleagues and look forward to interacting with them, everyone benefits.”
Working with other team members whom you have a great work relationship with can actually make work fun. “High morale leads to better productivity, which leads to better results.”
If you want to get your colleagues to work with you better, here’s what you can do:
- Pinpoint the issue:
“Explore your feelings and behavior toward your colleagues,” says Parnell. If your colleagues seem to be difficult, they may actually be reacting to the signals you are giving off – whether consciously or unconsciously. While this might be a bitter pill to swallow, you may be the very root of the problem and the first step toward recovery is discovering this.
- Do not complain to management:
Mommy, mommy! Jimmy isn’t being nice!” isn’t going to cut it here. In fact, it will just make things worse. “Going over someone’s head to leverage them with authority is the best way to gain faux cooperation that is backed by insidious, Machiavellian game play,” Parnell says. “Take whatever steps are necessary to remedy your situation first, and only turn to management as the last resort.”
- Ask for advice:
Again, you don’t want to go to your boss or upper management to complain about a co-worker, but you can ask your supervisor for advice on how to improve your work relationships. “They will certainly appreciate the fact that you came to them first because you want to improve and this will help your supervisor see that you are truly a team player.”
- Communicate directly with them:
This is perhaps the most important factor when it comes to improving a work relationship. “It’s totally understandable why you and a co-worker don’t work well together but the onus is on you to improve the situation.”
If you complain to your boss, he or she will most likely just ask you to speak directly with your co-worker to try to improve the situation. So instead, ask your co-worker if they have some time to speak with you, maybe at the end of the day once all of your projects are completed. You can state your feelings in a non-accusatory way, tell your co-worker that you’d really like it if you can help each other in the future and work better together, and ask them what you can do to make this happen. It’s possible that they are not even aware of their shortcomings or perhaps they don’t realize that there is a problem between the two of you so hopefully they will appreciate the fact that you are bringing this to their attention.
- Engage the law of reciprocity:
“If you happily help people first, others automatically will feel a sense of obligation to return the favor,” Weisman says. When you have an extra free minute or two, you can ask your co-workers if they need help with anything, or engage in another act of kindness. Maybe your colleagues will reciprocate, and thus improve the way you work together.
- Go out to lunch or for a drink:
When colleagues don’t get along or don’t work well together, it simply might be that they don’t really know each other. The best way to get to know a co-worker better is to spend some time with them away from the office. You can offer to take them out to lunch and just chat with them as an equal. You can also ask to meet them after work for a drink, when he or she might be more relaxed and perhaps not as cautious when it comes to discussing your relationship. You can use that time to find out what you have in common outside of work.
- Find out their challenges and obstacles:
It’s wrong to always assume that the reason why a co-worker doesn’t work well with you is because it’s personal. It may be that they don’t have the aptitude for the job or don’t have the training necessary to do a great job. “If this is the case, you can offer to train them or to help them in any way. This way, they will see you in a new light; as an asset and not a liability.”
An interactive online community dedicated to women. Follow @thewcommunity on social media for your favourite lifestyle updates.