9 ways to be a great co-worker

The standard workday is challenging (read: frustrating) enough without personal friction, so keep things upbeat, to benefit your colleagues’ outlook and your own career.

Why should you bother trying to be a great co-worker every day? Well, building great relationships at work is going to help you in your career.

First, your workday will be a lot more pleasant if you’re surrounded by people you respect and enjoy working with, and vice versa.

Second, your colleagues are the best people to write recommendations or spread the word about your abilities. They can vouch for you for the rest of your career. Likeability is one key factor in your success.

Of course, you might not love each and every one of your co-workers from the get-go, and that’s OK.

The good news? You can build strong working relationships through mutual respect. Start by being a great co-worker every day.

These are some ways to spread a little sunshine to your colleagues:

1. Step up to help out.

“If you notice someone in need of help, take the initiative without needing to be asked to lend a helping hand,” says Matt Zajechowski of Digital Third Coast. “Work as a team, and realize we all succeed when everyone succeeds.”

2. Give credit generously.

“One of the biggest office relationship issues I hear about is from employees who feel that their work or ideas are taken for granted or co-opted and stolen,” says April Masini, an advice columnist. It’s always better to give too much credit than not enough.

3. Knock before barging in.

Warn a colleague before you interrupt their thought process, workflow, and concentration.

“Use your judgment, and determine whether they prefer a call or email ahead of time. If you still need to stop by, even with an urgent matter, knock and still wait for a response,” says Theresa O’Neal of Bee Season Consulting.

4. Don’t just vanish.

This is especially true during vacation season. “Sharing your schedule sometimes helps others plan theirs better,” O’Neal adds. “If you are planning on leaving early, but have not announced it to anyone, you may end up frustrating both your co-workers and yourself when you decide to walk out the door.”

Of course, it’s easy to cross the line into TMI territory. Just be thoughtful and logical about it.

5. Don’t sound stressed out.

Unless it’s a White House Down situation, there’s no reason to be stressed out and frantic. Take a breath. Channel serenity. Speak calmly.

“Have a pleasant versus stressed-out attitude,” says Kathi Elster, an executive coach and a co-author of “Working with You is Killing Me.”

6. Don’t be loud in an open-plan office.

“If you sit in an open space, or even in an office, be aware of the volume level of your conversations,” O’Neal says.

Not everyone wants to hear you chatter about your weekend. It’s especially annoying to those who have a ton of work to do. People might start wondering whether you need more work.

7. Break up your clique.

“If you lunch with the same people daily, or have cocktails on Friday with the same people, you may become the object of jealousy and resentment of those not included,” Masini says.

8. Avoid office gossip.

Unless you must warn a colleague about a serious situation, there’s little to gain from involving yourself in office gossip. “Most people like gossip, but most people don’t like the people who gossip,” Dharmesh Shah, founder and CTO at HubSpot, says in a recent LinkedIn article.

9. Smile, say ‘hello,’ and be friendly.

A little small talk can go a long way in building relationships and rapport.

“Starting each day with a smile and a welcoming greeting can really help ease relations between yourself and other employees,” says Reuben Yonatan, CEO at GetVoIP.

A version of this article first appeared on CareerBliss.


Ragan.com Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive the latest articles from Ragan.com directly in your inbox.