We all understand the value of building relationships in our personal lives, but many people often forget to do the same in our professional ones. Joining a new business or company provides an opportunity to start building new relationships. Doing so can significantly impact how happy you are at work and how well you get along with everyone. Even though your coworkers do not have to be your best friends, you will benefit from the teamwork and progress enabled by building strong relationships with them. So, how can you do this?
Know Your Team and Understand Team Dynamics
It can be challenging to build relationships if you do not understand the other person or people. Once you join a new team, one of the first things you should do is try to get to know everyone. The onboarding and orientation processes might have already given you an idea of who they are, but you need to know them on a much deeper level.
Make an effort to talk to your colleagues whenever you can. That could be during breaks, when working on projects, or whenever you spend time with them. Understand that some people do not like to talk about themselves and instead only want to concentrate on their work. This is perfectly fine, and you can change your approach to accommodate these preferences.
Next, try to understand how different people associate with others in the team. Consider things like who is respected the most, seen as the leader, and who plays what role in the team. Understanding them at this level will help you know how to approach them and build a relationship beneficial to everyone involved.
Learn Active Listening
Active listening is crucial whether you are building personal or professional relationships. This skill also helps other people feel as though you are interested in them as people and not just as coworkers and can help build the trust required to form a positive professional relationship.
Ensure you are receptive to what others say, use non-verbal cues to show you are listening and paying attention, and practise emotional intelligence so the other person feels heard and understood. Doing all of these is also important for helping you know how others are feeling at specific times. This is the foundation on which human connections are built.
Once you understand your colleagues and learn to gauge your emotional stages, you can start building the necessary professional relationships.
Active listening is part of it, but there is so much more to effective communication. Decide how best you and others like to communicate and follow that when engaging with them. You can learn this as you engage with them at work and outside, and then use what you learn in latter engagements.
Be Proactive and Ready to Help
As a new team member, your colleagues might not know if they can trust or rely on you. It is up to you to prove to them that they can. You can start by being proactive on the team and working to ensure the team achieves its goals. Remember that you have to start doing this from the first day when you have the most time to deliver because your workload is likely to be lightest at this time.
If you get the opportunity, provide helpful suggestions based on your experience and expertise to help colleagues complete their work better or faster. Some teams allow you to call your colleagues to see how to support them. Given the opportunity, also try to find out how the team works.
Even as you try to help, ensure you are not straining yourself. You should only take on work you know you are equipped to complete to the required standards and within the set deadline. However, seize opportunities to assist if you have the bandwidth.
Ask for Help
Many people are afraid to ask for help, especially in the first few days or weeks, because they do not want to be seen as underqualified or a bother. However, doing this rarely leads to the desired results because your colleagues might think you are not a team player. Also, it can lead to poor results if you are not getting input from others about your work.
Ask for help respectfully or delegate tasks if you can. This can help you complete your work while providing opportunities for working with team members directly. Such collaboration will not only make you better, but it will strengthen your professional relationships.
If you find it challenging to talk to colleagues, you can always reach out to your human resource manager. They can help facilitate conversations or provide resources that help you overcome this issue.
Participate in Meetings
You might miss the opportunity to gain the respect of your colleagues if you do not participate in meetings. Your attitude and participation can show whether you are engaged and ready to become valuable to the team.
Start by being prepared for every meeting you are asked to attend. If you need to prepare documents or collect data to do so, you can ask team members to send you PDFs with the relevant details. You can then use a PDF to Word converter to end up with a file that makes it easier to prepare. The conversion tool from Small PDF makes this easy and can be an integral part of your workflow as you prepare for meetings.
Next, participate in the meeting by giving your opinions, supporting others, adding to the discussion and generally being present. If you are called to answer a question, your previous preparation will help show you are interested and have something to contribute to the team.
These steps are similar to what you should do if you work remotely, with the difference being that you should turn your camera on instead. This will help your colleagues know who you are and learn that you can become a valuable team member.
Set Strict Boundaries
There is nothing wrong with spending time with your colleagues outside work. However, too much socialising can be an issue. Straight boundaries are crucial for building healthy relationships, and this applies to professional relationships too.
Understand these are your colleagues and that you must remain professional but accessible at all times. Know when to say no to socialisation to focus on your work. If you need to, use time management strategies to ensure you handle everything you should first before spending time with your colleagues after work.
As you adjust to your new workplace, show gratitude to others when they help you with something. People will notice your kindness and appreciate it. However, you must draw a line between being appreciative and being seen as trying to please others all the time. The former is great, but the latter comes off as desperate and is the exact opposite of what you want when building professional relationships.
Positive and robust work relationships are crucial for new hires who want to become integral to a new team. It will require work on your end, such as learning how to listen and communicate effectively, understanding what your new colleagues are like, what the team dynamics look like, and what everyone prefers. Build rapport, understand your new team, set boundaries, be respectful and available, and go from there.