A temporary assignment presents certain challenges in terms of fitting in with peers and colleagues. Developing relationships requires the same interpersonal skills regardless of whether it is a long-term or short-term context; however, understanding your role as a temporary employee can help you to avoid stepping on toes or having overly ambitious expectations.
The obvious common courtesies apply. Make eye contact, say hello. Engage in conversation when invited but respect the time of others. Dawn Rosenberg McKay of About.com offers advice on building relationships with colleagues. To break the ice and make a good impression, remember something about those who you meet and use that as a conversation starter the next time you encounter them. For example, Alice may be a poker player or Pete an avid golfer.
4 Ways to Develop a Relationship with Your Coworkers
- Identify an appropriate person as a mentor and ask them if you can come to them if you need help or have questions. Respect their time and always ask if they are available; don’t assume that they can respond immediately.
- You may have been hired for your niche skills, and you may be required to work independently. However, people warm to those who need their help, and many enjoy the opportunity to provide assistance. Don’t hesitate to show your ignorance and vulnerability in certain situations – where are the bathrooms, and where can I get a cup of coffee?
- If you are required to work with others in a team environment, listen and try to shadow someone as you learn the ropes. Don’t try to impress or to appear that you already know something. Every environment is different, and you may be surprised at what you learn.
- Avoid engaging in office gossip or conversations concerning politics and religion. This can only reflect poorly on you and can be very dangerous. If you find yourself in such a situation, politely decline to give an opinion. After all, judging a situation from your limited experience would be presumptuous and unwise.
Show your appreciation for the patience of others. Answering your questions and providing training takes time and effort on their part.
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