1. Be fair and realistic about your expectations. Every person has intrinsic strengths and weaknesses. If you’re someone with good attention to detail, a coworker who regularly takes poor phone messages probably bothers you.
But before you label that person as dumb or get frustrated every time you receive another non-descriptive phone message, remember that we all have different strengths and weaknesses. It’s likely that the same person who takes bad phone messages is probably great at other things that you haven’t taken the time to notice, because it’s ingrained in your mind that this person is incompetent.
2. Treat others how you want to be treated. This is one of life’s golden rules that absolutely applies to the workspace, too.
If you’re in a sour mood because someone took your favorite parking space that morning, retaliation or holding a grudge won’t get you far. For most people, you spend more time with your coworkers than you do with your own family.
When you start to treat others with respect, regardless of irritating incidents that could easily be chalked up to mistakes, they generally take notice and return the favor. What goes around comes around.
3. Keep in mind you’re all on the same team. When you work for a muti-department company, it’s far too easy to slip into the “us versus them” mentality, even though you all work for the same business.
If you work for a paper company and there’s a late shipment, sales blames the warehouse for taking too long to package the order, whereas the warehouse blames sales for not putting the order into the ordering system correctly. When that happens, everyone loses, because you’ve all taken a step toward creating a disjointed company where people would rather point out others’ mistakes instead of take action toward making things better.
The next time you’re about to complain about someone in a different department messing up your job, remember that it’s a two-way street, and you all have a shared common goal of making the company a better place to work and a more efficient operation.
You can’t control other people, but you can control your mindset and train yourself to stop pointing fingers when something goes wrong.
4. Remember - your coworkers may be fighting internal battles you don’t know about. If you have a coworker who’s always rude to others first thing in the morning because he’s tired, it’s easy to just assume that he’s being irresponsible with his time by not going to bed early enough.
Your coworker is probably just a jerk, right? Maybe, but maybe not. What you might not know is that his grandmother is very sick in the hospital with terminal cancer, and your coworker has been spending every night in an uncomfortable chair by her bedside. Or maybe he’s a single dad struggling to get small children to bed at night, packing lunches and doing house chores after they’re asleep.
Try to keep in mind that your coworkers are only human, and many people are going through struggles that you don’t know about.
Everyone has off days or hard times in their lives that other people don’t realize, and that frustration gets misdirected. While that’s never an excuse to treat your coworkers poorly, it helps to keep that in mind when you notice a colleague has been acting particularly out of character lately.