You may have started your new job just a few weeks ago, or maybe you’ve been working in the same place for years. But no matter how long you’ve known these people, you can sense that something is missing. When you leave the office for a week, you can’t be certain that your coworkers will have your back. And when they leave, you grudgingly accept their tasks…but you’re not happy about it. During meetings and pitch sessions, everyone looks out for him or herself, and when limited resources or opportunities become available, it’s winner take all and the devil take the rest. This isn’t a bitter or toxic environment, but there’s not much team spirit here either.So what can you do to warm this place up and build some trust? Here are five simple moves that can change the dynamic between yourself and your team.
1. Make the first move.
Offer to do something that will take a burden off your coworker’s shoulders, and follow through. It doesn’t have to be something dramatic. And your offer may not even be accepted. But extend it anyway. Do so in a way that’s low-key, casual, and focused on the other person, not on yourself. Don’t expect to be thanked. Just behave as if this is a normal aspect of interpersonal relations in your office, and eventually it will be.
2. Ask for something.
Sometimes the best way to connect with someone is to do that person a favor. And sometimes, for reasons that are not very clear, the opposite is true. Ask someone to do something for you. Keep your request small and thank the person appropriately when they execute the task. Make it clear that you value their presence and their support.
3. Pretend you already have the environment you want.
Sometimes just saying things—whether or not they’re true—can have an impact on the vibe in your workplace. Compliment others on their team skills. Thank them when they pitch in to get a job done, even if they aren’t your direct reports. State that you trust those around you to protect your interests, even if you really don’t. Sometimes trust is like a shape in the clouds—it’s there, but you need to look for it and help those around you to see what you see.
4. Lighten up.
When the mood lightens, people relax. And when people relax, their true personalities and real feelings begin to come to the surface. If your office is all business, all the time, this can prevent your team from getting to know each other. Encourage a little levity in your workplace. Joke with others and let them joke with you. Don’t be afraid things will get out of hand—if they do, you can worry about that when it happens.Make your office into a place you enjoy and a place you can be proud of. After all, you spend about a third of your life here. For more on how to get the most of your workplace relationships—or find an employer better to suited to your needs and personality—explore the resources on MyPerfectResume.