If you want to achieve success at work, you’ll have to learn to get along with, or at least tolerate, your co-workers. In order to forge smooth relations with your fellow workers, brush up on some basic communication techniques. Using effective communication with co-workers will help you understand each other better, get things done quicker and leave work feeling satisfied--or at least sane.
According to the University of Oregon’s Holden Leadership Center, workplaces should encourage a trusting, open environment where employees can communicate their ideas and problems with managers, and managers are willing to listen yet are not afraid of conflict. Effective workplace communication can have different dynamics depending on the status of the employees who are communicating, but there are general guidelines that apply to everyone, including respect, listening, maintaining eye contact and communicating your needs assertively.
Effective communication at work is essential for organizations to be able to operate efficiently and accomplish their goals, both monetary and otherwise. Most of us have worked at a place that had terrible communication and have seen the resulting chaos that ensues. Think of communication as the grease that keeps all the wheels turning at work. Without communicating, employees would not know what is expected of them, managers would be frustrated with their results and no one would get along.
There are different types of workplace relationships, and it helps to adjust your communication style to the position of the person you’re talking to and the specific situation. Talking about last night’s sports game might be a perfect way to get to know your peers better during your break for instance, but during an employee review meeting with your boss, it might not be a good idea. Keep in mind that assertiveness is important when communicating with everyone so that your rights, and theirs, are respected.
When communicating with your co-workers, it helps to be understanding and mindful of diversity. Be sensitive to different cultural backgrounds, sexual orientations, marriage statuses and age groups. Avoid any jokes or remarks that generalize or stereotype any group of people, and avoid using nicknames that are based on someone’s group identification. Also be tolerant of different personality types and try to see the unique strengths that each person brings to the table at work.
According to CareerBuilder.com, a national job resource site, when it comes to relationships and communicating at work, one size does not fit all. Some people may enjoy forming friendships that carry over into their time off work, while others like to keep a professional distance at work and abstain from serious socializing. Do what feels right to you, and remember, it’s best to error on the side of caution and logic. Although it may feel great to be best friends with a co-worker one day, if a personal dispute arises in your friendship, work can become torturous.