Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success – Henry Ford.

Most workplaces include an element of collaborative working, so it’s important to be aware of how your feelings and behaviours affect others.

Developing the right habits when it comes to working with others will result in leadership opportunities, higher pay, and more rewarding work.

The following tips will help you to forge positive working relationships with your colleagues.

Greet people when you come into work

By saying good morning to those around you, and offering a warm welcome to those arriving later, you are setting the tone for a positive and open atmosphere.

I ALWAYS greet people in the morning and “Good morning colleagues” is one of my favourites.

Be on time

When you’re late for an appointment, you break your word and show that you’re unreliable.

You’re also sending the message that the other person’s time doesn’t matter to you.

That said, despite the best of intentions and preparations, sometimes things happen that are outside our control. When they do, communicate and renegotiate the time, apologize profusely, and if you’re ever late to anything ever again, make sure it isn’t a meeting with the same person.

Be approachable throughout the day

Giving off a friendly persona indicates that you are interested in others and likely to be easy to deal with.

To do this, smile, instigate conversations, respond to questions positively and engage with others’ points of view.

Manage your mood

Everyone has a bad day now and then. But shouting, criticising, and being aggressive will only make you look unprofessional. If you need to calm down after something hasn’t gone exactly to plan, take a break and compose yourself before engaging with others again.

Inconsistent behaviour can lead to alienation, as people will not want to risk being on the receiving end of your bad mood. If this does happen, make immediate amends with a genuine apology.

Put your phone away

If your mobile phone is on the table while you’re speaking to someone, the message you are sending is “I’m waiting for something more important than you.” If you’re holding your mobile phone in your hand, the message is “You’re not nearly as important as what you’re keeping me from doing on my phone.”

It is always a good gesture to put your mobile phone away whilst dealing with clients and colleagues.

Say sorry if it’s warranted

If you have made a mistake or said the wrong thing, apologise for it. Do not try to avoid any difficult or uncomfortable situations, as this will result in tension or negative feelings building and causing an awkward atmosphere for everyone else.

Instead, resolve any potential conflict as quickly as possible.

Share knowledge

The strength of a team is usually greater than the sum of its parts. This means that your team will be able to achieve more together than as individuals.

So, if you know something of worth, share this with your team members and encourage them to do the same with each other.

Offer help and advice

If you see a colleague struggling with a problem or a busy workload, try to assist in some way. Just enquiring if help is needed can make all the difference to the other person. If your own areas of expertise allow you to provide advice, or you’re in a position to offer assistance, then do it.

Your colleague is unlikely to forget this help and will be more willing to return the favour when you are in a similar position.

Use your position constructively

Valuing your colleagues is fundamental to good teamwork. However, this cannot be achieved if you think you’re better than everyone else or use your status to get your own way. If you always assume you’re right, you’re likely to be missing some valuable input, insight or ideas.

Always take time to listen to other people’s views and opinions, and consider them before making a decision. Fostering a culture of team working helps share the workload, the responsibility and the rewards.

Take responsibility

When something goes wrong, it’s human nature to say “It wasn’t my fault.” What you’re also saying is “I wasn’t in control of the situation.” That isn’t exactly reassuring to those who depend on you. People feel safe around others who are in control and have the power to bend reality to their wills.

Take responsibility, plan for success, and you’ll find yourself surrounded by people who want to help you succeed.

Be sensitive to the moods of others

Although it’s preferable to leave problems at home, sometimes it’s not that easy for others. If someone isn’t performing well, or is having a bad day, understand that there may be reasons behind this.

Don’t be quick to assume the worst; take the time to find out if there’s anything you can do to help.

 Thank colleagues for their hard work

It’s always good to thank people for any work that they have done for you, or that you have benefited from. However, if someone has gone the extra mile for you or you can see that they have put in considerable effort, be sure to offer praise and recognition, including a simple ‘thank you’ – show sincere appreciation.

Getting into the habit of expressing gratitude will help to improve people’s impressions and attitudes towards you. It costs you nothing, but everyone walks away richer. If you have trouble feeling sincere at first, remember that if you sincerely want to be sincere, you are.

Share credit

Three things happen when you share credit for a job well done:

  • First, the person you share credit with will like you.
  • Second, everyone else will respect and like you, and they’ll want to work with you, because they’ll see that you don’t try to take all the glory for yourself.
  • Third, you won’t look like a selfish jerk, which is what happens when you try to take credit for yourself, even if the credit is truly yours.

Respond to emails immediately/always; Double check your email responses

If it will take less than two minutes to respond to an email, respond immediately. If it will take longer, mark it for follow up.

Take 10 seconds before sending any email to check two things; 1) that you’re sending it to the right person, 2) that you remembered any attachments.

Many people ask a question via email, get a response, and then never respond with “Thanks!” An email dialogue is active until it’s closed, and you don’t want to be the one to leave it open. Don’t leave those you communicate with wondering if you received what they sent you.

Look at people when they’re talking

We look away from others’ faces when we lack confidence, are lying, or just have poor habits. If you’re lying, stop it, but most of us are just uncomfortable staring at someone’s face. There’s only one way to get over it and make it feel natural, and that’s to practice doing it until it becomes a habit.

Looking away once in a while for a second is still natural–there’s no need for a rock-steady gaze, but if you find yourself saying entire sentences while staring away from the person you’re speaking to, then there’s room for improvement.

Plan your day

There are many ways to plan out your day, but to make it simple, and carve out 10 minutes each morning to run through your day. What about making a list of what you want to get done, and schedule when you’ll do it? At the end of the day, review your plan. Don’t let your inbox manage your time.

People enjoy working with other people who are in control, and they lose respect for those who are constantly scrambling about putting out fires.

Don’t quit – I mean, not your job!

I don’t mean you shouldn’t quit your job–maybe you should. I mean don’t give up on improving yourself. If you find yourself thinking “I’m just not very social, I’m just not good with people,” then you might be right, but the lie comes when you tell yourself you can’t change.

You can’t change the cards you’ve been dealt, but you can do the best you can with what you’ve got, and you have substantially more opportunities to create a winning hand than in a game of poker.

Many of the successful people around you aren’t that bright, they just kept on going when others quit. People like working with individuals who keep on going, no matter what.

As of old: Be EMPOWERED and EXCEL!

Are there any simple habits you’ve found that help you work well with others? Share in the comments below, please.


  1. andrew mutyavaviri says:

    Really impressed esp w forging positive working relationships w colleagues.i certainly hv enough room fo improvement.onto e main topic of leadership: as a team.leader hw wud u handle rejection coz u might feel alienated by yo subbordinates nd tht they are in a way turning against u???. Be tht as it may,i feel.a leader shdnt go begging to his or her shd b firm.nd objective.again a team.leader shdnt.b a divisive figure inorder to avoid conflict.wat u say wil always come to haunt leaders ought to b tolerant nd glo.bal in thinking.since w nw live in a global villa w a high level of interaction …diversitt.nd one shdnt b self promoting.leadeship is beyond varsity degrees nd speeches.why coz many are great aurators eg in.politiks nd busines bt not actors.they dnt.deliver.results tht.are wanted.i am.because.u are because we are/ ubuntu……custodian or responsible leadership

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