Think of all the times during a day you have some sort of human interaction. You joke with your family members, have small-talk with your favorite barista, and make awkward eye contact with the person across from you on the bus. No matter where you go, it’s seemingly impossible to avoid contact with others, especially in college. First impressions matter, but whether dealing with strangers or not, it is important to know how to be an agreeable fellow human being, especially in a professional setting. Focus is placed on academics while in school, but potential employers are also looking for evidence of interpersonal and collaborative skills. It’s not always easy adjusting to a work environment that requires cohesion among multiple people, but it’s necessary to learn how to handle it – even on the bad days. Here are four tips to encourage positive team interactions in the workplace!
1. Receive and Provide Feedback
Don’t take it personally! Your coworkers are working toward the same overarching goal, so if you are approached with constructive criticism to better yourself or your work, take it as a gift and opportunity to grow. Contribute to fostering an environment that promotes the thoughtful exchange of ideas.
2. Be Transparent
Be open! If your team members feel you withhold information, they might begin to feel a sense of distrust, and that distrust could cause them to be less transparent. When there is not an open line of communication, assumptions are made and mishaps occur that deter the team from their goals.
3. Take a Breather
Avoid burnout! No one wants to have a breakdown at their workplace. Try small changes such as waking up early enough to eat a balanced breakfast, keeping a stress ball at the desk, and going on lunch break without bringing work along. If these steps aren’t enough and you’re feeling overwhelmed, reach out to team members or your higher up to strategize or redistribute some work. Your coworkers might be happy to help, and your higher up could possibly reorganize your workload. It never hurts to ask!
4. Practice Empathy
Be a listener! You aren’t the only one who experiences emotions and circumstances that affect daily operations. Not all coworkers are comfortable divulging personal information in a personal setting, but if you notice something is off and they could use some help, you can be a supportive team member by offering help with work responsibilities or simply displaying more care in your actions. They’ll trust you more, and they reciprocate these efforts in the future.
These are just a few things to practice when working in a collaborative work setting. Take care of yourself and your coworkers, be open to criticism, and keep the lines of communication open!
Written By: Nygaele McGeathey