The age-old question of how to get along with coworkers re-emerges with every new job opportunity, change in job title, or shift in company culture.
A healthy work culture boils down to empathy and perception. A firm grip on how you perceive your co-workers can do wonders for your work relationships and overall experience. Understanding your co-worker's primary motivations is the key to understanding how to navigate your work relationships.
1. Your coworkers have two underlying motivations for working: money and validation.
No matter how you slice it, everyone you work with is there for the money.Money helps them support their families, pay their bills, achieve freedom, and fund fun. Those who value validation are seeking recognition, respect, and a sense of purpose. Remembering these two basic motivations establishes a baseline commonality that you can mentally reference.
Money helps them support their families, pay their bills, achieve freedom, and fund fun. Those who value validation are seeking recognition, respect, and a sense of purpose. Remembering these two basic motivations establishes a baseline commonality that you can mentally reference.
2. Your coworkers want to do their jobs with as little stress as possible.
No one goes to work hoping it will suck and no one is eager for a hard time. You can leverage this shared goal by being the light on your team or in your organization. You can help your team achieve this common goal multiple ways. First, you can try to offer light-hearted banter. You should always strive for positivity. However, remember that misery loves company so your co-workers may not consistently vibe with your attitude. Interject work appropriate humor regularly and, lastly, suggest low-stress team building events.
3. Your co-workers also have bosses and customers who have expectations of them.
When trying to collaborate with your co-workers remember that they are obligated to their internal customers, external customers, and bosses. Therefore, they may have limitations of how and when they can work with you. Likewise, you should feel free to make it clear what your obligations are. When all else fails, tell yourself, "they have a job to do just like me."
4. Your co-worker's behaviors reflect what they think will benefit them.
People both want to feel good and do the best they can with what they know. Many of your work interactions have little to do with you and everything to do with your co-worker's upbringings and views of the world. Therefore, it's important not to take negative experiences personally.
If you remember that it's not about you, a bully transforms from an asshole into someone who is sad, hurting, and gets temporary relief from raging. The butt-kisser/gossip becomes a person who feels their best when people have favorable opinions of them. The work-a-holic boss becomes someone who gets more validation from work than their personal lives.
I want to be very clear that I'm not asking for you to accept toxic behaviors. Instead, I'm asserting that changing your perception can offer real relief for you while you establish your career strategy.
5. You get to pick your perception of others and it can either invoke negative feelings or positive feelings.
An under-performing coworker isn't your business, and if you make it your business, the only thing you'll find is stress and workplace toxicity. You are in control of you and how you choose to perceive situations. Instead of focusing on negative experiences, decide to see them as opportunities for elevating your personal brand. Go inward and appreciate yourself for the value you bring to the company. I assure you that if you focus on yourself that you'll achieve distance from them via a promotion, them leaving the company, or you leaving for a better opportunity.