Workplace conflicts are almost inevitable, especially in large offices. Personality differences and different approaches to communication and work style are bound to occasionally create friction, even in a generally happy and productive office environment. That said, it is important to not let minor personality differences get in the way of your work, so it is a good idea to be proactive in preventing office tiffs and also to resolve quickly any tenson that does come up.
Listen and Ask Questions
Well-liked people are almost always good listeners. The ability to listen to others and appreciate their successes and problems without automatically comparing everything to your life will make you one of the more popular people in your office. That will particularly be true if you also have a knack for asking the right questions to get to the nitty gritty of the matter at hand. Asking sincere, well-thought-out questions is nearly always a good idea in an office environment. If things already are tense, asking rational, non-blaming questions can help to defuse the situation.
Think Team First
This point cannot be overemphasized. The hands-down single best way to get along with your colleagues is to be a team player. Fellow employees and supervisors notice when colleagues are willing to take on extra responsibilities in order to get a job done. Putting the team and the job first will not only help you get along in your office, it will go a long way toward pay raises and promotions.
Deal with Issues Before They Get Worse
Another important step in getting along well at an office is dealing with problems as soon as possible. Most of the time, when you just try to ignore a problem, it gets worse. So, don't let problems fester. No need to make a big deal of trying to get resolution on every little issue, but don't ignore a problem that hurts your work performance in any way. Try to resolve the issue with as little fuss as possible, but don't hesitate to take matters up with your supervisor as necessary.
Do Not Gossip
The line between friendly conversations with colleagues and gossip can be fine, but take the high road whenever possible. Even legitimate criticism of a colleague can come across as gossip, so in general, it is best to avoid commenting on people who are not participating in the conversation.
Be Aware of Your Body Language
Most people are very unaware of their body language. But, the way you walk or sit or stand or even hold your pen, can say a lot about you. In the same way, whether you make eye contact with others reveals your emotional state and may change the message you are trying to convey in a conversation. Be aware of your body language, and make sure you are not giving your conversational partners mixed messages.
Clayton Browne has been writing professionally since 1994. He has written and edited everything from science fiction to semiconductor patents to dissertations in linguistics, having worked for Holt, Rinehart & Winston, Steck-Vaughn and The Psychological Corp. Browne has a Master of Science in linguistic anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.