Tips to get to know your Workmates
Work is a central part of most of our lives. In addition to being the most important factor in our financial well-being, it is also a place where we socialise and build relationships. Many of us spend more time with our co-workers than we do with our families, so while you may think that working and socialising don’t mix, our social relationships with our workmates are a vital part of a healthy and productive workplace.
Regardless of the amount of time we spend with our work mates, we often only see one side of their personality. Often we may end up misjudging them simply because we didn’t make an effort to get to know them better.
Life experiences and current circumstances shape who we are and how we behave. While we may do our best to separate our personal and work lives, we often all still bring our own point of views and emotional baggage to work. Think about someone at work that you have a difficult time with or simply don’t like. What is going on their life outside of work? Maybe their relationship is falling apart, maybe someone is sick? Although it is a lot easier to write a work mate off, building a relationship with them will create a much better working environment and you just might make a really good friend along the way.
Here are some tips to get you started;
The most obvious way to get to know your workmates is to attend work related social functions like seasonal parties, nights out and celebration lunches. You can also get involved in any workplace community events or help in organising them.
Listen more, talk less.
Listen to your workmates instead of being so focused on get your on point across. Let them explain their thoughts and opinions. Listening is just as important as talking.
Ask people for advice.
Whether it is work related or personal, asking people for advice is a good conversation starter. Most people will be flattered when they are asked to share their opinions and knowledge.
Connect with individuals.
Invite someone to lunch, welcome new people and show them around. When your work mate asks for a favour, do it.
Say thank you.
Sometimes we forget to be appreciative of our workmates. Regardless of whether they were just doing their job or even if they complained the whole time, saying thank you can make lasting favourable impression.
If it feels like there is an issue between you and a workmate, don’t just avoid them, be proactive and find out what is going on. Have a professional discussion about the problem and work out the steps you both need to take to fix the situation.
Put some effort into getting to know your workmates beyond the superficial chit chat. Share with them who you really are and talk about what is important to you in your life. Opening up will encourage your workmates to do the same. You will be surprised at what you can lean when you make an effort to really dig deep and get to know someone. Building these personal bonds will also build trust and understanding, making your work life and theirs, so much more enjoyable.
Genuine friendships take time to develop so don’t expect them to happen instantly. These tips are just a starting point for you to set up opportunities to meet and interact with your co-workers that will then give friendships a chance to develop naturally.