Building good relationships in the workplace is important. For starters, bonding with your coworkers can help you get ahead in your career: people who are well-liked at work are the first ones managers think of when it comes time for promotions. Bonding can also create a healthier, more functional office environment… which in turn can enrich your work day, improve your productivity, and motivate you to go to the office every morning.
Here are six simple tactics you can use to build stronger bonds with the people around you – not just your teammates, but everyone.
- Greet everyone each morning: Sounds like a no-brainer, doesn’t it? But how many times have you come into the office, hung up your coat, and turned on your computer without even noticing the people sitting right next to you? It doesn’t matter if you slept poorly or you missed your train or your dog ate your new sneakers: your colleagues deserve (and desire) your recognition. Saying “Hi, how are you? My fool dog ate my running shoes!” is a great way to greet your coworkers and inject a little levity into what started out as a less-than-ideal day.
- Try to discover common interests: That guy hotdesking a row away from you? The one you’ve never spoken to? He might just be a total online gaming fanatic like you are. And the woman with the pink hair who brings everyone their mail? She might be a dog lover and a runner. Just like you. Striking up a casual conversation with a colleague can lead to all sorts of surprises, like finding out you both secretly love pineapple on your pizza or adore Broadway shows. Shared interests are the perfect foundation for building a strong relationship.
- Show others the “real you”: It can be tempting to put on your “work face” when you’re at the office. But to get close to your coworkers, you need to be as authentic as you can with them. Let them see you not only as a colleague but as a human being who makes mistakes or is sometimes unsure about things. Your authenticity will be rewarded by honest friendships.
- Support other people’s work: Lots of us feel we don’t receive enough appreciation for what we do at work. In fact, a lack of recognition is one of the top reasons people leave jobs. If you want to bond with your coworkers, show sincere appreciation for the work they do. When a colleague completes a difficult project or scores a big win for the company, make sure you congratulate them. And whenever you can, offer to help out if colleagues are slammed: it will earn you their instant respect and trust.
- Get to know people outside of work hours: Whether it’s going out for Thai food instead of lunching at the cafeteria, or organizing a get-together after work, socializing with your coworkers is a fun way to connect with them and start the bonding process off right. Try to avoid work as a topic so you’ll have more time to get to know each other. Bonding over non-work–related issues can heighten camaraderie and collaboration among employees.
- Don’t take your grievances to the boss: Unless you have a legitimate complaint, such as a bullying colleague, think twice about complaining to the higher-ups. Negative experiences in the workplace are common. Many affect all of your team members. Open up and talk things through with your coworkers to try to find a constructive solution before resorting to talking to management.
- Give things time to grow: Rewarding working relationships won’t happen overnight, but with patience, they’ll begin to flourish. Give your coworkers time to adjust to you. Avoid being overfriendly. Just show them you’re interested in them both as colleagues and as individuals, and you’ll soon see positive results. You might even discover that your colleagues will become some of the best friends you’ll ever make.