How to be a good colleague

Carter Corson's Hannah Johnson looks at five ways to improve your relationships, and experience, at work

Build trust: One of the easiest ways to build trust with your colleagues is to show you trust them. By sharing small details about yourself, your interests and life outside of work you help people to see that you trust them. Once you show openness and honesty it won’t be long before it’s reciprocated and you’re on the way to building a healthy working relationship.

Take a different perspective: All humans suffer from cognitive bias, and this includes thinking that the way we see, think or feel about something is how others do too. Usually, these differences are down to personality. Although we can’t change who we are in order to get on better with others, we can move to their street corner from time to time and look at things from their perspective – when you can take yourself away from your own view of the situation and consider how others might see it, you broaden your perspective and tend to deal with things in a more objective way.

Stay in ‘adult’: We all see it at work from time to time, the ‘critical parents’ who see the negative in everything you do, the people who are overly nurturing and on the verge of patronising, or the people who act like children, acting rebelliously to get what they want or acting compliantly to keep everyone happy. At work, these behaviours are unproductive and should be avoided. If you find you slip into these then concentrate on staying in an adult position by being calm, honest and unemotional – keeping yourself in adult is also the best way to deal with colleagues who act like the characters described above.

Give feedback: If you hit a bump in your working relationship, don’t avoid it, address it. We often feel like running away from difficult conversations but it will only cause more damage if left unaddressed. A candid and kind way of giving feedback to colleagues is using ‘this is what works well’ and ‘it could be made it even better if…’ – remember WWW/EBI.

Have fun: At work, fun is sometimes taboo. However, the psychological benefits of injecting a little fun into your day are abundant. Everyone’s idea of fun is different so try to work out what makes your colleagues happy, it can be as simple as a lunchtime chat about anything but work to baking cakes to share with the team – find out what works and do more of it.