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The Top Ten Ways To Be A Good Coworker

Updated on May 30, 2014

Unless you’re born into a wealthy family or you're Donald Trump, you more than likely have to work to make a living. It’s the reality we all accept and take on the responsibility of often working a 9-5 job. That usually equals out to forty hour weeks and sometimes less when working part-time. Since a lot of time is spent around other individuals who you’d probably otherwise never meet, it’s important to have a nice civil working relationship with others.

But to accomplish that, how can you become a good coworker? Whether it be ones you work with directly or indirectly there are some reminders to consider when going about your daily work day. Some may seem elementary, but sometimes getting caught up in the busy work schedule can cause you to forget the simple good manners that should be shown to others. Although you may feel you’re being treated badly, it’s vital to still keep in mind common courtesy when interacting with others, especially your coworkers.

In no particular order, here are the top ten ways to be a good coworker. All are important and should be considered when working closely with others.

1. Take Criticism Well

No one likes to be corrected, but we all make mistakes. There are going to be times when it’s either your manager or even a fellow coworker who take you aside and may correct your thinking on a manner. It may even be done incorrectly, possibly in front of others and in a rude manner. Still, as hard as it can be to accept, it’s important to admit your error and move on. Coworkers who complain about receiving criticism often are viewed as nitpickers and fail to accept responsibility. The only way ones can improve is to learn from their gaffes and move on. By pushing back, you’re saying that there’s no need for improvement on your end. This can lead to a lot of trouble for you whether you’d like to progress in the department or even be recognized as a good worker. Even if you show strong work ethics, the view of how you accept your mistakes can put a damper on your reputation to others.

2. Be Positive

When comparing each job from one to another the stress level can vary greatly. Some may be easier than others to manage. However, if you let the problems in your life disturb your work you’re going to possibly bring others down around you. It may not seem like a big deal to you, but even a simple smile when seeing your coworkers can do much better wonders than moping around being depressed. Yes it may be hard to go about work when you’re overwhelmed with your duties, but letting out the negative can give a bad impression to your coworkers. This doesn’t mean you have to be Pee-Wee Herman walking past everyone’s cubicle, but loud sighs and eye rolling can affect others greatly.


3. Be On Time

This should go without saying, but being late can hurt your coworkers tremendously. In our busy lives, things are going to prevent you from getting to work on time on occasion whether it be traffic, or other circumstances. But making it a habit to show up late not only hurts you in the eyes of your manager, but can aggravate your coworkers. Some jobs depend on being done at a certain time of the day, so being late can put everyone you work with at a disadvantage. Even being late at accomplishing tasks can be irritating to others. By being punctual with your work, you’ll gain the trust and approval of others

4. Volunteer

Depending on the job, some in your department may be weighed down with extra work. On occasion, you may be given downtime due to the work subsiding during different times of the year. This is a good opportunity if possible to assist ones that are overwhelmed and need help. By seeking out work to support your coworkers, you’re showing that you care about the task at hand and are willing to be helpful. This also can reflect well on your department in displaying to others your area is efficient. It’s not always to be expected, but it will show a positive attitude to others which in turn could cause them to imitate you as well when they have an opportunity to return the favor.


5. Bring a Snack or Sweet Treat

Who doesn’t enjoy a doughnut or cake when they arrive to work? By bringing in something as simple as candy to share with your coworkers you will lift up the spirits of the department. This can be a big boost when it is crunch time on deadlines or other jobs that need done. It may sound simple, but you’ll be surprised how far a little gesture of bringing a treat in can do for others. Also, much like volunteering to help, it could even move ones to want to bring in treats as well from time to time.

6. Show a Sense of Humor

There is a time to be serious and take what you’re doing as important business. However if you were to take anything and everything serious, ones might be turned off. During appropriate times, having a good laugh about something you might have done or a tedious job most dislike can encourage your coworkers. Not to mention it will allow you to seem more approachable. Ones who are stern typically have a vibe that repels workers who may have a question to ask or even engage in a light conversation. By keeping the job as professional as possible, but know when to laugh you’ll build up your coworkers instead of tear them down.


7. Communicate Well

This is one step that can be overlooked without even realizing it. We all obviously need to speak with one another, but communicating concerning a project, leaving something on a table for you etc. can be impairing to your coworkers. Something as simple as a quick email or phone call can fix what could snowball into a huge problem. By having a steady communication with others and keeping them up to date on matters, you also show you care about them. One who does not communicate well and isn’t informative could possibly cast off their coworkers.

8. Compliment Others

Everyone enjoys being inspired by a nice comment concerning their work. We can all agree that a nice compliment from someone can boost your overall outlook on the day. This isn’t to say you must kiss butt to everyone you know, but if you appreciate something that a coworker does, don’t hold back from saying what a good job they did. If everyone showed a kind word to one another then your department would probably be working at an all-time high. As the case is with a lot of other things, little stuff like a compliment can add up to being big. This also goes along with being positive to those around you.


9. Avoid Gossiping

This is probably the number one thing that occurs in each department. It’s easy to get frustrated and see coworkers not pulling their weight or annoying you at times. By talking to others about a certain coworker though, you are damaging the connection of team building. It’s hard to avoid when you are in the middle of others gossiping, but the best thing to do is stay out of it the best you can. By putting a stop to gossiping you are giving a good testimony that others will notice. Harmful chatter does no good and certainly won’t make your coworkers appreciate you. If they see you gossiping about someone, who’s to say you aren’t doing the same behind their back too?

10. Be Action Oriented

It can be easy to let unexpected jobs that come up slip unnoticed when you’re busy. However during slower times, if there is a task that is asked of your area and you happen to be free, it’s good to jump to the task. Your energy can sometimes also serve well for others, and give a good impression. There is a fine line of being overly occupied in taking on too much work and being able to assist with your department by taking some of the load. Still, a group that are known to take the lead getting tasks done are much more constructive and pleasing than ones who are sluggish and lethargic.

What are some more guidelines we can follow to be better coworkers? Feel free to comment below.

What do you like to see in a coworker?

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    • BeyondGS profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Ohio

      Thank you for the kind words. I have first-hand seen the effects of when someone isn't often positive at work. I agree with you, that is a big quality to have and unfortunately some don't value. Thanks again for the comment!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

      All your suggestions are good, but I voted for Stays Positive. Hopefully, being positive would affect the other features. Good presentation!


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