Work can feel so much easier when you have colleagues you can trust. The same goes for your coworkers; they’ll also appreciate reliable workmates.
In this article, we’ll shed light on the need for good workplace relationships, present traits that define outstanding coworkers, and offer actionable tips on how you can work with your coworkers better without compromising your tasks and responsibilities.
The Need for a Coworker You Can Trust and Rely On
Workplace relationships can significantly affect whether a person stays or leaves their work. According to a McKinsey study, people quit their roles because employers don’t fully understand the needs of their employees.¹ Unsurprisingly, one of the reasons is having a workplace that doesn’t foster a sense of trust, reliability, and care among workmates.
Employees feel dissatisfied in an environment where employees do not feel valued or respected, ultimately prompting them to leave. A study conducted by the Pew Research Center underscores this point, reporting that a staggering 57% of respondents left their rolesdue to feeling disrespected at work.²
However, there is a silver lining amid these concerning statistics. Gallup found that 44% of people with best friends at work are more likely to recommend their organization as a great workplace. Around 32% of these people are also satisfied with their place of employment.³
It’s perfectly normal to look for an office environment that prioritizes its internal employee relationship, fosters collaboration and trust, and provides initiatives to prevent internal conflicts. After all, you’ll work for these people eight hours a day, five days a week.
Qualities of an Exceptional Coworker
Have you ever wondered whether you’re an excellent coworker to those around you? Aside from knowing the best skills to put in a resume, take note of these eight common traits an exceptional coworker has:
- Attentive to details
- Reliable and trustworthy
- Accommodates the needs of others
- Good with collaboration
- Communicates well
- Prepared to offer help
- Open for feedback
- Respectful of people’s time
Embodying these qualities makes you an outstanding coworker and contributes significantly to a positive and productive work environment.
How to Be the Best Coworker: 7 Practices You Can Apply
Developing the qualities and skills to become a good coworker takes time and practice. Here are seven gestures and practices rooted in collaboration and efficiency you can do to foster good relationships with your workmates:
1. Brighten someone’s day by reaching out.
You can start each workday right by acknowledging the presence of your teammates. Greet them with a smile at the start of your shift. You can also share your snacks with them during breaks or ask them to have lunch with you. Reaching out is a kind gesture that tells them you see them and want to be friends with them.
If you are working remotely, you can message them and ask how they are. If you think you are close enough and they aren’t too busy, you may also share a brief video chat or voice call to see how they are.
Remember that you can also become friends outside of work. Ask your coworkers if you can add them on social media to chat with them or meet up on your day off.
2. Show your genuine appreciation and gratefulness.
Saying a simple thank you can go a long way in showing your coworkers that you appreciate their efforts. If you are uncertain how to approach them, you can leave them a thank you note or a private message.
If you think others should know their good contributions, you can thank this person in front of others during a meeting. This gesture can highlight the value they bring to your organization, show others that this person has helped you, and encourage coworkers to rely on them.
Incorporating these acts of appreciation into your daily interactions enriches the workplace environment. It creates a culture where gratitude is valued and reciprocated, strengthening the foundation of a positive and harmonious workplace.
3. Ask for feedback.
Proactively seeking feedback is not just a demonstration of your humility but also a testament to your respect for your colleagues’ insights and expertise. It signifies that you value their opinions and are open to continuous improvement, fostering a culture of mutual growth within the workplace.
If you are asking for task-specific feedback, you may want to prepare a set of questions to make the conversations more meaningful and productive. Remember to take notes to make sure you remember their suggestions.
Remember that you don’t have to run around to ask everyone for their feedback. Select only a few people at a time. Getting feedback can add to your team’s productivity, but overdoing it can disrupt the work of others.
4. Offer timely support.
Offering support takes time, and you must adjust to their needs to provide the best help you can. Depending on your schedule, take some time to provide help. Offer constructive advice when they ask for it.
The more you talk to your colleagues, the more you will be able to recognize their challenges and offer better support. Practice active listening, look for non-verbal cues, and try not to interrupt them to understand the situation entirely.
You can also build better relationships by helping each other more often. If you can’t help them now, kindly decline and provide them with a time when you can help. Help should be done when you can commit to it to ensure you accomplish what you must do together.
5. Ask for help when you need it.
Knowing when and how to seek help is a sign of wisdom. Understanding the unique strengths of your teammates empowers you to make informed decisions about whom to approach, streamlining the process for everyone involved. By seeking assistance from someone well-versed in the area you require help, you save valuable time and energy, as they might already possess the knowledge you lack.
Asking for help also tells your colleagues you see their expertise and trust their judgment. Learning from your colleagues equips you to handle future challenges more effectively, making each collaborative effort a learning opportunity.
In asking for help, be respectful of your coworkers’ time by being prepared. Provide context on what you need help with and ask questions that can bring out the best answers you are looking for. Once you are done working together, remember to thank them and show how much you appreciate their help.
6. Stay true to your commitments.
No one likes it when another person forgets about a promise they made, so keep your promises to your colleagues. If it’s difficult, assess the situation first before saying yes. It’s vital to foster an environment of collaboration and trust but not at the expense of interrupting your work and responsibilities.
Otherwise, if you’ve already offered help, stay committed to your promises. Do your best to make time for them and help them with their situations. If the other person forgets what you’ve discussed, don’t neglect it. Remind them kindly about what you have discussed and be willing to adjust if there are any plan changes.
7. Stick to facts and stay away from gossip.
Gossiping can be tempting when you don’t want to confront the other person you misunderstood. If you misunderstand or offend a colleague, prevent yourself from venting your frustrations to other colleagues. Avoid talking behind people’s backs because this can negatively affect your character more than theirs. It can also signal to the people you are talking to that you may also be talking behind their backs.
Instead, talk directly and kindly to the person you had a bad experience with and try to fix things by being logical and calm.
For example, if you were collaborating on a project and you misunderstood what they said, which caused interruptions and errors, apologize and explain what happened. After this, make it a habit to clarify their intentions and meaning to get the correct information.
Create Good Workplace Relationships Wherever You May Be
Cultivating and maintaining good workplace relationships is fundamental to creating a positive work environment for everyone. Surrounding yourself with supportive colleagues gives you satisfaction and a sense of belonging, encouraging long-term commitment to your organization.
Openness, trust, and regular communication form the foundation of a positive workplace dynamic. Embrace these principles to create a collaborative team, ensuring mutual support and shared success. Building these connections isn’t just beneficial for you – it transforms your workplace into a space where everyone can prosper and excel.
ACS PROFESSIONAL STAFFING CAN HELP YOU FIND A NEW TEAM TO WORK WITH
If you’re looking for new career opportunities where you can build genuine and sustainable relationships, ACS Professional Staffing can help. We have more than 20 years of experience in crafting long-lasting partnerships. Our meticulous team of experts will connect you with potential employers in engineering, information technology, and more to help you find a role in which you can thrive.
Contact us today and start working on your dream.
1. De Smet, Aaron, et al. “‘Great Attrition’ or ‘Great Attraction’? The Choice Is Yours.” McKinsey & Company, 8 Sep. 2021, www.mckinsey.com/great-attrition-or-great-attraction-the-choice-is-yours.
3. Patel, Alok and Plowman, Stephanie. “The Increasing Importance of a Best Friend at Work.” Gallup, 17 Aug. 2022, www.gallup.com/increasing-importance-best-friend-work.