When a team is composed of individuals coming from very different backgrounds, how they get along each other is affected because of their different perceptions in leadership, education, personal experiences, ethnicity, political preferences etc. Others are task-oriented, while others are more people-oriented when it comes to their working style.
Personality clashes and differences in background and working styles result in conflicts.
How to get better Interpersonal Relationships at Work?
The following are some things to remember to improve your working relationships:
Be open to receiving feedback. Seeking and receiving feedback is a way for you gain awareness of your weaknesses and doing something about them. Do not take it personally when you face up to others perceptions about you. If you take it too personally, emotions get in the way and your working relationships will suffer.
Do not jump to conclusions. Suspicions, negative thoughts and being too judgmental of others will do you no good. Gather as much information as possible. When you react to situations without knowing the whole story will cause misunderstandings.
Resolve conflicts early. When negative situations arise, do not make them worse by taking it for granted. Develop a plan of action to address the problem with your co-worker, work together to resolve it before bringing it to your supervisor.
Set your limits. It is natural to develop friendships within the workplace. However, it is important to set boundaries so that your friendship does not interfere with your work. Focus on your work tasks and limit personal discussions to lunch works or after working hours.
Understand and accept personal and cultural differences. Try to look at things from your co-workers’ perspective. If you recognize the need for cooperation, you will be more productive and your relationship as co-workers will be smoother.
Clarify expectations. Reduce potential conflicts by encouraging open communication and clarifying expectations. Avoid ambiguity by not making assumptions about what you want. Don’t expect something from your co-worker that you didn’t specifically ask from her. Requests should be as specific as possible. Do not make people guess.
Set a good example. What kind of behaviors do you expect from your co-workers? Model them. If you want others to be open with you, then be open with them. If you want people to be nice to you, be nice to them.
If someone picks a fight, end it. Do not continue that fight. Pause and think how you can handle the situation without worsening it.
The strategies above take some practice, so be patient. Remember that your work will be a lot easier if you have smooth interpersonal relationships at your workplace.
Learn more about how to improve your work relationship.