Working well with your workmates

Working well with your workmates

Most people spend a significant amount of time in the presence of their workmates. If you have a great working relationship with your colleagues, your job becomes fun, leading to higher morale, better productivity and improved results. On the other hand, if you do not get along with them, it makes going to work a chore and may affect your career prospects.

Relationship problems arise at work because the environment is often full of competition, heavy responsibilities and sometimes bad office politics. Many times, you will need to work in a team with people who hopefully have your shared interests in getting the job done to their best abilities. You will quickly learn that some workmates will be on your side, while others are against you.

What is a sensible and responsible attitude towards your work mates? There are typically five groups of people with whom you will need to get along with at your work:

1. Your customers
Customer is king and without loyal customers, your business will die. Every customer has the potential to return and buy more from you or to recommend you to someone else. And likewise, they also have the potential to take their business elsewhere, so never assume customers will automatically come back. In a company, you may have a support function, such as HR or administration, and in these cases, often your colleagues are your customers, so remember to treat them like customers, in addition to workmates.

2. Your superiors
These are the people who have authority over you. They usually will have more experience, so try to learn from them whenever you can. Ask relevant questions about things that will help you in specific tasks or your career. If your superiors are great, let them know it by giving positive feedback when appropriate. Remember, a good boss gets better for being told that he or she is a good boss. In other cases, you may not respect your superiors or think they deserve to be above you. But they are and this is the reality, so do not criticize them behind their back. Constructive criticism or suggestions on how to do things differently has better results

3. Your juniors
Whether this involves people who report to you, or others from a different department of the business, you should treat them as you would treat a young person put in your care. Teach them about the business world, mostly by leading by good example. You should have more experience than they do and it is your duty to pass on this experience to guide them in their careers. Try to become someone who they look up to or come to for help in difficult times. Remember, be nice to your subordinates. Tomorrow one of them may be your boss.

4. Your peers
These are the people you work with, either directly or indirectly. While they are your equals, they may also be your competitors, vying for the same goals, sales targets, promotions, or customers. The best way to treat equals is to regard them as both your superiors and juniors at the same time. They, too, may be a boss one day. So treat them with healthy respect, and while you do not have to go out of your way to help them to compete with you, you certainly should not put unhelpful obstacles in their way.

5. Your suppliers
You may think that you are in a stronger position with a supplier than with a customer. You are mistaken. Your suppliers can make or wreck your business. I remember one situation where a business treated its suppliers very badly, and made one supplier bankrupt overnight. The company’s other suppliers became wary, and in the end, it was the company that suffered the worst. So do treat your suppliers well. For example, I always pay my suppliers as promptly as I wish to be paid.

In summary, treat those with whom you come into contact at work with respect, care and decency. Whenever you can, encourage. Remember the rule of good management – EASY – Encourage And Say Yes. If you tell someone they are great, you help them to become greater.

The writer is the Founder Mentor of Terrific Mentors International, a group of skilled mentors, trainers and coaches with significant management experience, who share a passion in helping people find purpose and meaning in their lives.