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How to Build Good Working Relationships in Your New Job
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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 crucial to build the foundations of strong working relationships with our new coworkers.
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. They are 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 on the team?
Here five key points to remember that can 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 coworkers 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 which you are not comfortable tackling. But where there is opportunity to help, don’t hesitate to take it.
2. Make time for everybody, not just the senior stakeholders
There can be a tendency to focus all your time and effort impressing more senior stakeholders, and a temptation to ignore tasks you deem to be of low importance. These things 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 that a 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 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.
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 that you are here to take part than in meetings? Come prepared, give your opinion, support that of others, be proactive, and actively partake in the discussion.
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 or politics. Don’t risk disparaging someone or joining in a joke at someone else’s expense and spoiling your reputation early on. Rise above this activity, and you’ll actually earn more respect than if you joined in.
Hard work, honesty, and a positive professional demeanor 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 organization.
We have more advice on navigating the tricky, but important, first 90 days in a new job, and tips on growing your career here.