During your career, the inevitable will happen; you’ll have to work with a coworker you don’t necessarily like. Maybe you don’t see eye-to-eye approaching your jobs, or your personalities aren’t the best match. Regardless of the reason, figuring out how to get along with your coworkers is essential, even if you will never be friends.
Without a solid working relationship, both you and your coworkers will struggle. It may be hard to find help when needed, or conflicts may cause delays that harm project timelines. Fortunately, it’s possible to bypass the drama and maintain productive relationships. Here are some tips that make it easier.
Reflect on Your Assumptions
First, it’s critical to realize that challenges relating to coworkers aren’t always based on reality. Instead, you may make inaccurate assumptions about their statements or behaviors or why specific situations occur. For example, you might assume that a coworker offering an alternative to your idea doesn’t respect you or is combative. However, it could simply be that they feel their option is viable and merely want it considered.
Consider whether assumptions play a role when you feel yourself reacting to something said or a situation involving a coworker. At times, being aware of how your thought processes influence your perception makes a significant difference, allowing you to combat inaccuracies before they impact your relationships.
Look for the “Why”
Understanding your coworker’s motivations can make maintaining a good relationship far easier. It provides helpful context, allowing you to see what’s driving them to act in a specific way or speak in a particular manner.
For instance, if a coworker disagrees with your idea, discover why they don’t think it’s a good solution. Ask them if any points they believe may work, and have them explain why they’re concerned about other facets of the approach. By doing so, you may find that they have a legitimate reason for expressing that opinion, which can be enlightening.
If you disagree with a colleague about a strategy, proactively share your motivations. Start by explaining what about the idea seems reasonable and why. Then, outline your concerns or questions that make you hesitate to follow through with them, giving them a chance to respond. That allows you to demonstrate your respect and gather necessary details while opening up opportunities for a productive dialog.
Try the Honesty Approach
In some cases, leading with honesty can work wonders. If you and a coworker dislike each other, approach them to discuss the situation. Say that you’ve noticed the tension between you, and ask if your coworker has any ideas to help navigate the problem with you.
Ultimately, the collaborative honesty approach allows you to examine the relationship and identify issues spurring discontent. Then, you can create a mutually acceptable plan to move forward, allowing you to remain productive.
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