Whenever I go into a company to conduct my workshop on “Building Great Work Relationships” the number one complaint I always hear is how awful their coworkers are. Everyone seems to have a horror story, gripe or complaint about his or her colleagues. But one of the first things I always ask is “How are you doing at being the kind of person someone wants to work with? I believe that life is an echo; you get back what you send out. So whenever I hear of someone complaining about their rotten coworkers I ask them to evaluate themselves according to the following criteria. Rate yourself from 1-10 (with 10 being the best) on these 8 strategies for getting along better at work?
1. Keep your word. Do you do what you say you will do when you said you would do it? How often do you have people promise things and then never deliver? You know, the data you need for that report to the relocation manager at that big corporation, the information for a big presentation? A coworker’s performance often depends on getting the right information at the right time from you. Be sure to follow through.
2. Refrain from gossip. Don’t criticize others or pass along information that may not be true. And if you are going to make fun of someone, make sure it is you! Yes, it is okay to tune in to the office grapevine, but be sure to determine the difference between gossip and the grapevine.
3. Be a friend. Are you sincerely interested in others and are you a good listener? Remember that to have a friend you must be one. Be kind to people. You don’t have to love or even like your coworkers. But you can be kind to them.
4. Never make a coworker look bad. That is not your job. They’ll make themselves look bad soon enough. You concentrate on doing an outstanding job yourself and let everything else go.
5. View everything you do from the other side. You can never walk a mile in another person’s shoes, but you can try. Just because someone is not like you – they don’t think or act like you – doesn’t mean they are wrong. Learn to appreciate the differences in others.
6. Don’t try to impress others, let them impress you. Nobody likes a braggart. Sure, you want to toot your own horn occasionally; that will give you some visibility. But not all the time.
7. Remember that the greatest hunger that people have is to be needed, wanted and loved. Help create those feelings in others. Show appreciation when someone helps you. Do things to make people feel important. Give a compliment. Praise, encourage, support and cooperate.
8. Be enthusiastic and positive. People like to work with positive people. Be positive as much as you can, even if you have to “fake it ‘til you make it.”
So how do you score? Work toward being a perfect “10” in all these areas and I predict you will encounter very few difficult coworkers.
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