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Moment Of Clarity

Getting Along with Co-Workers

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Let’s face it: People can have a hard time getting along with their co-workers for a number of reasons. They could be more intelligent, more attractive, more outgoing or more strategic. They could also be too mean, too loud or too quiet — the list of examples could go on and on.

The bottom line is that sometimes we get along with people and other times, we don’t. So, if you want to take your workplace relationships in a more positive direction and minimize tension, try the following:

1)  Smile more. Smiling makes people feel safe and when people feel safe, they’re more likely to open up to you and work things out. It’s also really hard to stay angry with someone who’s likable — and likable people tend to smile more than frown.
2)  Talk less, listen more. Employ active listening skills and get people to talk more about what’s important to them. They feel important and cared for when they’re understood. Now, if you come across that one co-worker who talks a bit too long or goes into too much detail about their irritable bowel syndrome, simply smile and say something like, “And, on that note, I need to get back to work.”
3)  Present your opinions as questions. For example: Instead of saying, “That won’t work,” try asking, “How do you see that working?” For really aggressive co-workers, try something like, “You seem really committed to this idea/point. Can you help me understand why?” After hearing their reasoning, you can follow up with something like, I see now why this is so important to you. Would you be willing to consider ‘ABC’ as a possibility if it made sense to you?” Conversations usually take a lighter tone when opinions are presented as questions.
4)  Resolve conflicts early and in private. Following the first three points, sit down with the individual in private so there are fewer distractions and more focus. Dealing with conflict early can help avoid misunderstanding and unnecessary tension in the workplace.
5)  Stay neutral. While there are times where you will have to take a stand, you want those times to be few and far in between. Whenever office conflicts arise, you want to avoid taking sides, especially when it’s not your battle or war. I find the following mantra to be helpful to say in your mind when working in a high stress, high conflict environment: “Not my circus, not my monkeys.”

If you find it particularly difficult to get along with your co-workers or tend to have a hard time interacting with others, you may want to consider hiring a coach or therapist to help you — at least in the beginning. Once you get the hang of how to better get along with your co-workers, the need for coaching or support will be minimal or no longer necessary.

How have you dealt with workplace tension and ‘interesting’ co-workers? Do tell in the comments section below!

I hope you found this helpful. Pleasant journeys!

Jinnie Cristerna, LCSW, CHt.

Jinnie Cristerna, LCSW, CHt.

Do you have a question for our “Moment of Clarity” JET Therapist, Jinnie? Email us at digitalpitches@ebony.com. We’ll be sure to keep it anonymous and confidential. 

Jinnie Cristerna, affectionately known as “The High Achievers Therapist”, works with talented people to help them release emotional pain and psychological roadblocks so they can achieve their personal and professional goals. Specializing in psychotherapy, heart centered hypnotherapy, vibrational energy, meditation, and personality development, Jinnie has a nearly 90 percent success rate with her clients.  Sign up for Jinnie’s High Achiever newsletter here or join her on Facebook and Twitter!