Monday, 3 December 2018

How to be kind to colleagues who really don’t deserve it

When we’re at work, we’re expected to get along with our co-workers. Collaboration, team work, partnerships are all key to achieving great results at work, however we don’t often get to choose who we work with.

Thankfully, most co-workers and colleagues are united in a shared aim – to do their best and reach their full potential. Sometimes, though, there will be a need to work with people who we don’t naturally gel with. We need to engage, and work productively, with colleagues we don’t actually get along with.

A nicer, more positive office environment can be influenced by each of us, so we’ve developed some tips to help you be kind to those colleagues who sometimes don’t deserve it. It’s not just for the good of your employer, but also for your own mental wellbeing.

Watch not only what you say – but what you do too!

Very often our own body language can give away our inner feelings. Most disagreements in a work environment will not be as blatant as a verbal argument or a physical fight, but rather will present as negative body language – such as noticeable eye rolls or simply blanking people. In the main, people are very intuitive, so be extra vigilant that your own body language and non-verbal gestures do not convey your distain for your colleagues. If you exude positivity to all co-workers, they are more likely to follow suit.

Nip issues in the bud – don’t let things fester

Often the breakdown of work relationships comes about as an accumulation of smaller issues that simply haven’t been successfully resolved. If you find that you’re having issues with a co-worker or colleague the first step is to talk about it as it happens, don’t let the issue morph to become bigger and more significant than it needs to be. A single issue can be inconsequential in itself but unresolved tension will really be felt by the rest of your team and this will definitely impact on your ability to not only do your job well, but to enjoy the time you spend at work.

Set a good example – don’t let the behavior of others influence yours

There will be times when the only way to deal with a difficult colleague is to face them, full on. Be careful though. Communicating with others when we’re in a heightened state ourselves has the potential to develop into an emotional – rather than a rational - exchange. As a rule of thumb, when dealing with a difficult colleague, you should always pretend that your children – or your boss - are watching. This simple technique will help you to keep your emotions under control and make sure that the exchange remains constructive.

Give credit where it’s due – don’t let bad experiences taint your views

Positivity breeds positivity, so even if your colleagues are not being particularly friendly or forthcoming towards you, it shouldn’t stop you from treating them as you would your other colleagues. That means complimenting them for a job well done, acknowledging their achievements and giving credit where it’s due. Treat people as you wish to be treated yourself and don’t let the negative ways of others impact on your own working practices. Lead by example, always. Who knows, maybe your positivity may just rub off on others.

If you’re struggling to reach out the hand of kindness to one of your colleagues, remember, that you're kindness will benefit your wellbeing as well as theirs. This article from the British Psychological Society is a good reminder of the personal benefits that kindness can bring our way.

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