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Advice from the Mayo Clinic

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1 Advice from the Mayo Clinic
Getting along with your co-workers: How to build a peaceful work environment Advice from the Mayo Clinic

2 Getting along with your coworkers will make work more pleasant and lower your stress level. Find out why mutual respect is essential.

3 Working with people who respect you and who value your contributions strongly affects your level of job satisfaction. It also improves your ability to produce quality work. As you may have experienced, it's not always easy for co-workers to get along. Here are some strategies to overcome unhealthy relationships with co-workers and some tips to promote an atmosphere of mutual respect.

4 How to respond to rudeness If someone is rude to you, try these tactics to avoid escalating the conflict. Cool off. Watch your language. Avoid sarcasm. Repeat, rephrase and reflect back what you think the person is trying to say. If the behavior gets to you and you're angry, take a timeout. Confront. Calmly explain how the behavior affects you. Your co-worker may not understand there's a problem.

5 How to respond to rudeness (2)
Focus your concern. Talk to the person whose behavior is bothering you, but not to others. If the person in the next cubicle is playing a radio too loudly, tell him or her how that affects you. "I can't hear when I'm on the telephone," for example. Solve the problem. Ask your co-worker to work with you to find a solution. "Can we figure out what to do about this? What are your ideas?" Look for a mutually agreeable solution. If nothing seems to help, talk with your supervisor about the problem. Your supervisor can't help you if he or she doesn't know about the behavior.

6 Dealing with an office bully
Bullying isn't just something that happens on the playground in elementary school. It happens at work, too. Bullying is the hurtful and repeated mistreatment of workers by their bosses, a co-worker or even subordinates. It's a pattern of abusive remarks, arbitrary rages or attempts to sabotage a person's work.

7 Examples of bullying work behaviors include:
Talking behind your back Interrupting you when you're speaking or working Flaunting authority or status Acting in a condescending manner Belittling your opinions Giving you the silent treatment Insulting you Shouting at you Staring at you Sending you abusive

8 People often react to the bully by:
Worrying about a specific incident or future interactions Losing work time by avoiding the bully Being absent or tardy, or leaving early Changing jobs

9 If someone's behavior toward you feels like bullying, consider these steps:
Get some support. Talk with your friends, family or a counselor. Call your employee assistance program (EAP). Don't suffer in silence. Practice avoidance. Don't be alone with the bully. Document the behavior in writing. Be specific. Include how the behavior impacts your productivity and the bottom line. Share this with your supervisor. If your supervisor is the bully, share your documentation with the next supervisor in the chain of command.

10 If someone's behavior toward you feels like bullying, consider these steps: (2)
Check your company's policies. Many employers know the importance of maintaining a work environment free of violence, coercion, sexual harassment and hostility. A bully can create an uncomfortable work environment. Confront the bully. If you're comfortable doing so, let the bully know that his or her behavior bothers you.

11 What to do if you've been undermined
When someone is out to make you or your work seem inferior, you're being undermined. He or she may steal your idea, belittle you in meetings, or lie about you to your boss or co-workers. These underhanded behaviors could create an uncomfortable work environment. But you can use strategies to counter these behaviors: Gather allies. Respect, appreciate and value your co-workers. When the chips are down and someone is undermining you, they'll back you up. Document your ideas. Send them directly to your supervisor without discussing them with co-workers.

12 What to do if you've been undermined
Build your visibility outside the company. Speak at industry conferences, write articles for trade publications, become a community leader. It's harder for someone to stab you in the back if you're being honored in any of these ways. Confront. Visit with the co-worker one-on-one. Describe what you're experiencing. Sort through the reasons why he or she might be undermining you. Calling the person on his or her behavior will often stop it. Take the high road. Stand up for your co-workers. If you hear a negative comment about someone, try to counter the negative (and usually false statement) with a positive truth. If the negative comment is true and you don't have a positive counter statement, then try to redirect the conversation.

13 Do your part Co-worker conflict isn't always avoidable. From time to time you'll have to deal with someone who is rude, a bully or someone who tries to sabotage your work. Your co-workers will also have to deal with you when you're having a bad day. By building strong relationships with your co-workers, you'll each be more ready to practice forgiveness and give each other some slack.

14 Here are some tips for building a climate of mutual respect:
Be positive. Smile, be upbeat and greet everyone warmly. Learn to communicate effectively. Make sure you understand what your colleagues say to you. Ask for clarification if you're uncertain. Make sure your colleagues understand what you're saying, too. Don't assume they did. Sometimes what seems obvious to you isn't obvious to others. Be a team player. Come to meetings prepared and on time. Contribute to, but don't hog, the discussion. Think about how others perceive you in the workplace. Avoid gossip. If conversation turns to rumors, say you're not comfortable with the discussion and excuse yourself. Make an effort to resolve conflicts. Talk with your co-worker in private in a non-threatening way. Focus on solutions. Don't get sidetracked into an argument.

15 Here are some tips for building a climate of mutual respect:(2)
Be modest. Don't brag or take too much credit. Be pleasant and personable. When communicating with co-workers, take the time to add a kind, thoughtful touch. Respect confidences. If your co-worker wants the entire office to know about a divorce, career change, pregnancy, illness or other personal matter, he or she will spread the news. Don't spill the beans yourself. Avoid harassment. Never make suggestive comments or tell jokes that make fun of a co-worker's culture, race or gender. Be courteous. Refill the paper tray. Clean up after yourself. Knock before entering a co-worker's office or cubicle. Ask if it's a good time to talk before interrupting. Tell co-workers where you're going if you have to leave. Sign up for a course in communicating across work styles. Check to see if your employer offers a course that will help you identify your work style and your colleagues' work styles. If possible, see if your entire team can participate.

16 It's easy for rudeness or a lack of consideration to escalate into hostility. So even if it takes tremendous effort, be nice. And remember, it's the little things that can build strong working relationships.

17 The End

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