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How to build good working relationships in your new job
The first few months in any role are an important time in which we feel a certain amount of pressure to prove our worth. This may take the form of impressing our new boss or delivering an early result. Apart from these early wins, it is crucial to build the foundations of strong working relationships with our new colleagues. Building good working relationships is crucial to succeeding. Better working relationships lead to better teamwork and will help you to be happier, more engaged and more productive. They are the foundation on which we succeed.
But how can we go about this in the correct fashion, especially when coming into an established team where relationships are well established?
Here five key points to remember that can help you to establish good working relationships with your new colleagues:
1. Be proactive and help where you can without being asked
As the new person in the team, your colleagues will be keen to see what you can deliver both to wider team goals and also to projects they are working on. That will most likely take the form of the work you are tasked with early on; bear in mind that new employees are typically not very heavily loaded with work.
Where possible, offer your knowledge and experience to group tasks and find a way to help on work your colleagues are undertaking. Ensure that you are not spreading yourself too thinly and never attempt to take on work which you are not comfortable tackling, but where there is an opportunity to assist ensure that you take it.
2. Make time for everybody, not just the senior stakeholders
There can be a tendency to focus all of your time and effort impressing more senior stakeholders, and a temptation to discount junior colleagues and tasks you deem to be of low importance. These things are important to someone, so don’t be dismissive. This can be hard in a new role where there is pressure to impress and make an impact but remember that a reputation is built across all levels, not just among your boss and the management team.
By establishing yourself as a reliable, helpful and respectful member of the team among your junior colleagues as well as bosses and peers, you will go a long way to building long-lasting professional relationships.
3. Deliver on work and always follow up with people
Nothing is worse than someone who fails to deliver on a promise or consistently misses deadlines. There is no quicker way to spoil your reputation and damage potential working relationships than failing to follow through on work or not replying to emails and requests for information and help.
If you do find that you are above capacity or short of time to follow up on everything it is important to be open and honest about it with your colleagues. Better to give someone fair warning and be honest than to fail to deliver with no explanation.
4. Show yourself in meetings
Professional relationships are built on respect and 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 that you are here to take part than in meetings. Turn up prepared, give your opinion, support that of others, be proactive and partake in proceedings.
5. Be positive and avoid gossip
A key part of building healthy relationships is to retain a positive attitude towards your new colleagues. There is sure to be some level of office politics and gossip – this is just a reality of working in close quarters. However, as a new face in the team, it is important that you distance yourself from this activity.
The nuances of how a large team work together and relate are complicated and there is only damage to be done by getting too involved in gossip or politics. Don’t risk disparaging someone or joining in a joke at someone else’s expense and spoiling your reputation early on. Before you know it the gossip will be about you and it is hard to win back a tarnished reputation.
Hard work, honesty and a positive professional demeanour are traits that will take you a long way in your career and also ones that will help you to make an impact in any new role. By respecting your colleagues and proving your value by 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 your long-term future with the organisation.