Unless you are the CEO of your own company or you manage your own office, you might not always get to pick who you work with. Let’s be honest, we don’t always see eye to eye with our co-workers.
You may not have to become best friends with everyone in your office, but you do have to act professionally and be civil for productivity and sanity’s sake. Easier said than done? I’ve had my share of unpleasant co-workers and the best approach is always a mindful approach.
Here are 3 easy ways to keep the peace in an already stressful work environment
1- Step Into Their Shoes
We’ve all heard the saying: ‘You don’t know anything about a person until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes’. Remind yourself that we all have many things going on outside our 9-5 commitments. We have relationships, families, personal upset, and financial obligations. We also all have different ways of handling our stress. Of course it is unprofessional to bring our personal lives into our professional lives, but consider your stress and now relate it to your co-workers. They have demands coming from the boss too. We are all in this life together. Many differences we have with other people dissolve when we realize that we really aren’t different at all. The difficult people in our lives are great assignments for us to work on our own selves. Remember that the yuck you see in someone else is the yuck you may be ignoring within yourself. Same goes for the good. We see good in others because it is a part of ourselves that we understand and recognize. We are all mirrors reflecting back at one another. What are you seeing? Keep to your side of the line and clean up your own actions. Be the leader in the relationship and lead by example. Show genuine compassion through your words and actions. Everyone is hoping to be seen and wanting to be reassured that they matter. Listen and you will also be heard.
2- Set the Intention
At the end of the day, despite any misunderstandings or varied points of view, everyone has a common goal while at work, which is to deliver the best products and services for your superiors and clients. Keeping the intention of producing quality work a priority helps to keep the focus on the task at hand. Remember that you are part of a team and it is important to create a sense of community. Productivity will be far greater with open communication, understanding and support. Learn to lean on each other and respect each others ideas. Respect doesn’t mean you have to agree, respect means acceptance. Communicate, keep an open mind, accept and move on.
3- Take a Mindful Minute
There are 2 ways to play the mindful minute card and they can be used in tandem with one another. First, give yourself permission to walk away for 5 minutes and give yourself a break. Getting some fresh air, going for a quick walk, or taking a bathroom or coffee break to collect your thoughts and have a few breaths to yourself can have a huge impact on perspective and patience. Then, before you return set a mantra or intention for yourself and the office. Use it everyday as you walk through the front doors. It can be anything from “Let’s have a successful and productive day”, “I enjoy the company of the people I work with” or “I wish for everyone in this space all the things I wish for myself”. This helps to remove our need to control and detach from the things that we can not change. You can not change the people you work with or the situation but you have power over how you perceive it. When you surrender and accept what is, the energy can flow with more clarity around and within you. I use this practice a lot when I am in challenging situations and it really helps to shift my energy to be more positive and team oriented.
No matter what your work environment or position, make it your responsibility to silently set the tone. When you are having a good day, you give your co-workers permission to have a good day too. Be the change, it all starts with you.