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How to build good working relationships in your new job
The first few months in any role are important. During this time, we feel a certain amount of pressure to prove our worth – perhaps by impressing our new boss or delivering an early result.
Apart from these early wins, it’s equally crucial to build the foundations of strong working relationships with our new co-workers.
Building good working relationships is essential to success. Better working relationships lead to better teamwork and will help you to be happier, more engaged, and more productive. It is the foundation on which we achieve our goals.
But how can we go about this in the right way, especially when coming into an established team where relationships are already cemented? How can we find our place in the team?
Here five key points to help you to forge good working relationships with your new colleagues:
1. Help where you can without being asked
As the new person on the team, your co-workers will be eager to see what you can deliver, both to wider team goals and to projects they are working on individually. New employees are not usually bogged down with work at first, so use this time to lend a hand.
Where possible, offer your knowledge and experience to group tasks and find a way to assist with work your colleagues are responsible for. Ensure that you aren’t spreading yourself too thin, and never attempt to take on work that you’re not comfortable tackling. But where there is opportunity to help, don’t hesitate to take it.
2. Make time for everybody, not just senior stakeholders
There can be a tendency to focus all your time and effort impressing your senior stakeholders, and a temptation to ignore tasks you deem to be of low importance. These responsibilities are important to someone on your team, so don’t be dismissive. This can be hard in a new role. You’re under pressure to impress and make an impact. But remember, reputation is built across all levels, not just among your boss and the management team.
By establishing yourself as a reliable, helpful, respectful member of the team among your junior colleagues as well as bosses and peers, you will build long-lasting professional relationships with them.
3. Deliver on work and always follow up
Nothing is worse than someone who fails to deliver on a promise or consistently misses deadlines. So make sure that you do exactly the opposite. Strengthen your reputation by following through on work and being responsive and timely to emails and requests.
If you do find that you are above capacity or short on time to follow up on everything, it is important to be open and honest about it with your colleagues. It’s always better to give someone fair warning and be honest than to fail to deliver with no explanation.
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4. Show yourself in meetings
There is no better way to earn the respect of your colleagues than by proving yourself an engaged and valuable member of the team. And where better to prove you are here to take part than in meetings? Come prepared, support that of others, be proactive, actively partake in discussions, and demonstrate you’ve been listening by providing a helpful and relevant opinion.
5. Be positive and avoid gossip
A key part of building healthy relationships is to maintain a positive attitude towards your new team. There is sure to be some level of office politics and gossip – this is just a reality of working in close proximity. However, as a new face in the team, it’s best to distance yourself from this activity.
A large team’s inner workings are nuanced and complicated. There is only damage to be done by getting too involved in gossip and chatter. Don’t risk disparaging someone or joining in a joke at someone else’s expense as it will likely hurt your reputation early on. Rise above this activity – you’ll earn more respect by refusing to join in.
Hard work, honesty, and a positive professional demeanour will take you a long way in your career. These traits will help you to make an impact in any new role. By respecting your colleagues, proving your value, and offering your time, experience, and expertise, you can quickly build meaningful professional relationships, which will carry you through not only the early months in your new job but also your long-term future with the organisation.