When it comes to your career, one of the few things you have no control over is the people you have to work with. Your coworkers can be pretty hit or miss; sometimes you get along with them just fine, and sometimes you just really... don't. Whatever the case may be, it's important to still put forward your best version of yourself because that's the one thing in your office interactions that you actually can control. Here are 5 easy ways to be a better coworker:
#1 Break your bad habits
No one likes a coworker that leaves his or her dirty dishes unwashed in the kitchenette sink, or one that speaks loudly over the phone as if no one else in the office can hear. Take some time to reflect on how you can conduct yourself in a better manner when you're around your coworkers. Often times, we get so comfortable around them that we don't realize when we're doing something that may be bothering them. Identify those bad habits, then work on breaking them.
#2 Learn to read the room
Reading the room is the process of observing the overall atmosphere of the office and reacting accordingly. Doing so will help you establish the unwritten boundaries that have been set for the day. You're always going to want to approach every interaction with professionalism. Part of doing that involves exhibiting the right emotions that will fit in with the energy in the office. For example, if everyone is busy working, perhaps that is not the time to engage in friendly banter. If something serious has happened, maybe that is not the time to share a funny joke.
#3 Give proper credit
Many times in your career, you will have to collaborate with your coworkers on critical projects or assignments. The best way to earn your coworkers' trust is by giving credit where it is due. The workplace can get pretty competitive and it may be tempting to want to outshine your coworkers, but it's important to remember that you are all on the same team and working towards the same thing. Give praise to your coworkers when they deserve it and hopefully, they will also reciprocate.
Sign Up For Our Newsletter
Stories that matter — delivered straight to your inbox.
#4 Show your appreciation
A little goes a long way in the office. If someone is celebrating a birthday, wish them a happy birthday. If someone got a new haircut, compliment them on how it looks. If someone helped you with a task or gave you helpful advice, say thank you. You don't have to go out of your way to do this—you don't need to bake cookies or buy gift baskets—sometimes, it's all it takes is a simple show of appreciation to really make someone's day.
#5 Listen, listen, listen
Be a good listener. It's always good to be the one to start the conversation, but you also need to learn how to keep that conversation going. It's kind of like a balancing act—you don't want to overshare information about your life, but you also don't want to be a completely closed book. A good way to add balance to your conversations is by asking questions and taking the time to listen to your coworkers' responses.