Friday, 12 January 2018

How to build rapport with your professional colleagues

The ability to get along with your co-workers – and create long-lasting professional relationships with them – is an essential skill for all tax practitioners.

Whether you’re a recent graduate or a seasoned professional, developing positive relationships with colleagues creates a richer work environment and can help your future.

Here are four key skills that expert rapport-builders focus on to enhance their relationships with colleagues.

1. Communication

Things can go awry when there is miscommunication, especially when office stress and multiple deadlines are added to the mix. Learning to be clear when communicating with colleagues about collaborative projects, your workload or the expectations of your role will help you avoid any unnecessary conflict.

If you’re ever in doubt about a task or project, following up with questions is the best way to side-step confusion. Professional relationships thrive on open, honest communication.

2. Positivity

No one likes a ‘Negative Nancy’. Even if you think you’re innocently venting about a problem, people will peg you as a pessimist if you do it too often. Next time you feel the urge to complain about something work-related, take a step back and look on the bright side.

A positive, ‘can-do’ attitude puts other people at ease and shows you’re capable and interested in your work. Positivity is infectious, and your vibe will rub off on your colleagues, leading to a more positive work environment for everyone.

3. Listening

Often when we have conversations with colleagues, our minds are focused on the long list of other things we need to get done. This can lead to missing important information.

Consciously focusing on what another person is saying is called active listening. It involves:

  • paying attention to what the other person is saying
  • showing them you’re engaged in the conversation with physical signals such as nodding and eye contact
  • providing feedback on what the person has said by paraphrasing
  • trying not to interrupt them while they are speaking.

Practising active listening can help you understand your co-worker's needs and gain their trust.

4. Reliability

To encourage your colleagues’ trust and admiration of your work, try to make sure you are reliable.

Get to the office on time, produce high-quality work and be there for your team when they need you. Later, when your managers are determining who best to promote or entrust with the next big project, your hard work is likely to pay off.

These four tips are great ways to improve rapport with your co-workers, and they work best when combined. Create a positive work attitude built on effective skills and you’ll soon be the ‘go-to’ person in your office.

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