Who’s got your back at work? No matter what your profession is, it’s helpful to have an ally in the workplace. At times, every job can be competitive, stressful or difficult, that’s why having someone close by who supports and encourages you is so beneficial.
Build relationships. Creating on-the-job allies takes time and effort. Just working in close quarters several times a week isn’t enough to transform a co-worker into someone who will be there for you when times get tough. To develop meaningful relationships with those around you, be on the lookout for colleagues who are accessible and willing to invest time in you.
For relationships to flourish, you must also be willing to give of yourself to those around you. Look for opportunities to lend a helping hand or a listening ear. Smile when you pass co-workers in the hall, strike up conversations with employees from other departments or surprise teammates with breakfast or lunch one day. These small gestures of kindness are the building blocks for solid workplace friendships.
Don’t take advantage of the friendship. Once you’ve formed a few connections at work, the next step is nurturing and deepening the ties. An essential aspect of any relationship is respect. And one way you can show esteem for your co-workers is by respecting unspoken boundaries.
Your new friends are probably more than happy to help you out when you’re in a pinch or in need of some guidance, but be sure that you’re not crossing the line with your requests for assistance. Before you ask for a favor, always remember the golden rule, and treat others the way you’d like to be treated.
Remember to give and take. To have an ally, you must also be an ally. That means you have to be willing to occasionally stick your neck out on your friends’ behalf or go the extra mile when they’re in need of help.
Reciprocating kindness is an essential part of developing allies at work, or anywhere else. There’s no need to keep score of who did something nice last, but a general effort should be made to look out for others’ best interests.
Having people at work who support you can make a big difference in your level of success and your job satisfaction. So make the extra effort to be a friend to a co-worker today. You never know when you might need the favor returned.
Do you have good relationships with those you work with? What do you think it takes to be a good friend in the workplace?