In many companies, good etiquette is nonexistent and office co-workers fail to make friends of one another. Lack of trust and turmoil is seemingly evident everywhere.

Doesn’t it make sense to get along with your coworkers?

For five days a week, you spend more than a third of your time at the office. You don’t have to like everyone, but it’s best to be respectful, and assertive versus aggressive. That makes for good office relationships.

There are ample opportunities for agreements and disagreements.

After all, it’s not uncommon for people to disagree.

For career success, your image is important.

To keep your reputation intact, it’s best to be known for cooperation, fun and mutual support.

For best communication, common courtesy is important.

If you’re good at making friends, chances are you’re influential.

To make more friends at the office, here are six etiquette tips:

1. You don’t have to have the last say.

Know-it-all people are annoying – really annoying. So don’t always act as if you have to have the last say.

If you have a different opinion than someone else, you don’t have to always be right. People are unpopular in part because they are thin-skinned and get defensive. In matters of disagreement, you can choose to disagree and let it go.

A typical good response: “Hmm. I didn’t see it that way.”

When you make a mistake, it’s also unproductive to deny your role or to try to blame somebody else. Admit your mistake, apologize and devise a solution. That’s what respected people do.

2. Don’t criticize others publicly.

If you have a legitimate criticism of a co-worker, discuss it privately. No one likes a big mouth or a snitch.

You can compete with your peers, which is common especially in sales or among workers competing for a promotion or raise. But it can be a friendly competition.

When a co-worker is successful, be gracious with your congratulations. Don’t change the subject back to you. You will have ample opportunity at the right occasion for your self-promotion.

Otherwise, the person will notice your puffery and take offense. Being happy at someone else’s success is a hallmark of maturity.

3. Be a good listener.

Good conversationalists are good listeners. You will actually enhance your chances at influencing others if are a good listener.

An unfortunate common trait of a bad conversationalist is the use of the phrase, “Yeah, but…” People who react or interrupt others with “yeah, but” are seen as negative.

It’s no secret that the best salespeople or leaders ask open-ended questions and then listen carefully to the answers. They let people talk without interruption.

An open-ended question differs from a close-ended question. An open-ended question prompts the person to talk and explain. A close-ended question will only get you a close-ended answer, a “yes” or a “no.”

4. Don’t be a people-pleaser in making commitments.

Showing a community spirit is to be encouraged. It’s great if you’re empathetic about people less fortunate than you.

You’re likely to be asked to help others, especially in what I call the stewardship season – the holidays in the fourth quarter. However, don’t make the mistake of over-committing. Carefully select what and whom you will help. If you have to decline to help, you can say no nicely.

5. Avoid water-cooler gossip.

Trustworthy people avoid water-cooler gossip. Conversely, negative people who criticize others aren’t to be trusted – they will be sarcastic about you when you’re back is turned.

Be inspiring by aspiring – to be trustworthy.

Remember the adage: “What goes around comes around.”

6. Avoid profanity.

People who swear a lot do so because they’re negative. Civility counts a lot at the office. In 90 percent of your conversations, there opportunities to use words, such as “thank you,” “please” and “you might wish to consider.”

Oh, and by the way, the above tips are common techniques used by confident professionals – who are promotable people. These are some of the characteristics of people who succeed as the best managers and even leaders.

So, if you want to get ahead, start using these techniques.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related tips:

Tips for Dining Etiquette with Your Boss or Anchor Client – Whatever the important business occasion, it’s helpful to hold your meeting away from the tense hustle and bustle of a corporate setting. The right ambience for deal making is often an opulent restaurant with sumptuous food. That’s been my preference.

18 Tips for Productive Behavior to Win in Office Politics – Most people troubled by office politics are too focused on the behavior of their adversaries. Stop giving away your personal power. Don’t think or act like a victim. Here are 18 valuable tips to win in office politics.

Hate Your Job but Can’t Quit? How to Enjoy it in the Meantime — If you hate your job but can’t quit because you need the money, you’re not powerless. There are ways to enjoy your work and improve your situation.

11 Tips for a Better Relationship with Your Boss — Whether you want a happier work environment or lay the groundwork for a raise, promotion or transfer, you must create opportunities for success. That includes, of course, being on good terms with your boss and often your boss’s boss.

13 Tips on Coping with Change at Work – Conquer Your Fears — In this economy, it seems normal to fear losing your job. Plus, budget cuts, hiring freezes, revised job descriptions and getting a new boss can all be unnerving. Other changes can be sources of fear, such as fear of failure in new responsibilities, fear of looking obtuse, fear of an alcoholic coworker, fear of the unknown and fear of success.

“Confidence is the easiest thing to lose and the hardest thing to get back.”

-Drew Stanton


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is also a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.