Before you walk in the door at work, take a moment to cast off your commuting daze or lack of sufficient sleep, and try to present a positive you to your coworkers. Say hi to everyone — it requires nothing from them and leaves a trail of friendliness.
When it’s possible, a little small talk about someone’s life helps make a connection that reminds them that you’re just fellow people with full, interesting lives who happen to be working together.
Nothing makes someone feel more respected and appreciated than having their opinion genuinely valued. Whether it’s where to go for lunch or something work related, invest some time in soliciting others’ opinions. If you take their advice, they end up feeling empowered, and if you don’t — so long as you’re giving their idea serious consideration — the statement of respect gets made. Our studies show that fewer than one in three employees feels valued on the job.
It can be fun to gossip, but if you’ve ever been on the receiving end, you know how destructive it can be, especially it involves idle speculation about someone. Whether it comes from conflicting groups in the office or multiple people taking aim at an individual, it’s a form of bullying you should make a point of discouraging. Just don’t participate, and if someone approaches you with gossip, move quickly to another topic.
When things get tense, as they inevitably sometimes will, the situation is rarely served by adding temper, so do your best to stay calm. You won’t be making things better by getting upset and providing a calm oasis in the middle of conflict is comforting to others and can even help defuse the hostilities.
If you’ve got something nice to say about a task someone has performed well or for which you’re personally grateful, let them know. They’ll feel good, you’ll feel good, and you’ll be helping to create an atmosphere where people needn’t feel awkward about saying nice things to each other.
This may be obvious, but make sure you’re doing your job well and efficiently and that you’re not creating any workflow bottlenecks that are making someone else’s day more tension or aggravation filled.
This is one of those things where you throw a pebble into a pond and watch the ripples flow outward. No one may even realize what you’re up to. It’ll just be that — for some unknown reason — everyone will mysteriously start being happier where you work.