It’s no secret that being incredibly stubborn won’t win us points neither at work, nor at social occasions. Life is full of situations where we need to be adaptable: a friend wants to go to a different restaurant than you do for dinner, a colleague asks you to help out on a project that you really don’t like. But if you refuse to help those that you work with and always seem to be in a bad mood, you won’t look very good to your boss and colleagues. In order to succeed, you need to be adaptable and agreeable when the situation calls for it. Check out this how-to guide and become more easy-going at work. You want to give yourself the best chance for career success, right?
1. Ask Your Coworkers to Lunch
In order to give the appearance that you’re easy-going, you want to be seen as someone who is easy to get along with. But there’s a fine line between being a total pushover and being difficult. To get started, ask the people you work with to go for lunch sometime. It will be a good bonding experience and it will show them that you can be friendly. It’s good to show people your easy-going nature in a social setting so they remember that you’re actually a fun, nice person when it comes time to work together on a project, or speak up at a meeting.
2. Stop Being so Perfect
What’s the opposite of being easy-going? Being rigid and wanting perfection at all times. If this describes you, it’s time to give yourself a break. Wanting and expecting yourself and everyone and everything around you to be perfect will never work out. It will make you desperately unhappy and it can even start to affect your physical, mental and emotional health. Of course you want to hand in a project that you know you’ve given it your all and done the best job that you could, but you don’t need to work on it so much that you end up missing your deadline. At a certain point, you have to give something up and realize that you’re done.
It’s also a good idea to stop expecting your coworkers to be totally perfect, too. If the girl who works in the cubicle next to you asks for your opinion on something, don’t nit-pick and bring up some tiny flaw just because you think it should be absolute perfection. Say something complimentary and suggest a change in the most polite way you can, so you still appear to be friendly and easy-going instead of uptight and expecting perfection.
3. Stop Being so Dramatic
It’s impossible to be calm and relaxed when we think that something is the end of the world. Things are going to happen at work that suck and you’re going to have to deal with people that you would rather not talk to. If you’re paired with an annoying coworker, you could be tempted to be so annoying yourself that you are blinded to the good work that they can actually do. Take a deep breath and adapt to the situation without being dramatic.
4. Accept Your Flaws and Mistakes
Once you realize that mistakes are fixable and that you can always learn from them and improve next time, you will become a more easy-going person to work with and be around. You will be able to nod and smile when your boss gives you less than positive feedback and go back to your desk to do a better job. Your boss will be impressed that you’re approaching constructive criticism in such a mature, realistic manner, instead of talking back, not accepting it or, even worse, getting angry and/or crying.
5. Be Combative When it Counts
Being easy-going doesn’t mean deleting your entire personality. If you’re not a naturally friendly or agreeable person, you will definitely struggle with going against your true nature, but it’s completely necessary for your career success. However you don’t have to forget who you are entirely. When it matters, you can offer up a different opinion during a meeting or one-on-one time with your boss. As long as you say it with confidence and sugarcoat your words a bit so they don’t come across as super aggressive, you should be fine.
You will benefit more when you know when you should disagree instead of just disagreeing all the time, because your colleagues and manager will start to value your opinion and view you as someone who says what they feel and think when it’s super important. But if you speak up aggressively all the time, they will start to dread the moment you open your mouth at a meeting and will think you’re not a team player because you always seem to have such a problem with everything.
6. Find Your Zen
Think of the most chill, easy-going person you can. They probably take a lot of deep breaths and go to yoga frequently. That can be you. Yoga is a great way of working out your mind and your body at the same time, and it’s no secret that it helps lower stress levels. If you’re having a difficult time being chill at the office, think about different ways to get your zen on.
If yoga’s not for you, there are other things you can do to calm yourself down. Take a tea break in the afternoon when your energy starts to dip instead of reaching for even more caffeine, which can just make you feel even more rigid. Eat a calming snack like a homemade trail mix of dried cranberries, almonds, and granola. Almonds can stop even the craziest of nerves thanks to their levels of magnesium which keeps everything in your body from your levels of oxygen to blood functioning properly.
Remember when you were a kid and couldn’t sleep, so your mom gave you some warm milk? You can do the same at the office but keep it cool since it is pretty hot out there. Make a healthy smoothie version of a milkshake with vanilla-flavored soy milk and a scoop of Greek yogurt.
7. Take a Breath Before Replying
Speaking before we have a chance to really think about our response gets us all in a lot of trouble. If you’re someone with a quick temper, make it a point to take a deep breath before you have to answer someone that you work with. You will give yourself a chance to figure out whether it’s really worth getting upset over what they just said. By taking a time-out, you will realize that 99 percent of the time, it’s not such a big deal after all. Try this trick enough times and you will be more easy-breezy than you ever thought you could be. You will be one of those enviable employees who smiles and says "no problem!" to even the most stress-inducing of work tasks. Your coworkers will wonder how you can be so calm.
8. Picture Yourself in a Coworker's Shoes
Let’s say you have to work with someone on a project. It’s going to take months of long hours and staying way past 5 p.m. You’ve never gotten along with them in the past and their working style is totally different from yours. Think about how you want them to treat you before you complain about everything they’re doing. You may think you have the best interests of the company at heart, but your colleague won’t see it that way, and may even talk to your boss about how difficult you are to work with, and you definitely don’t want that.
You don’t want someone to tell you you’re doing a bad job or point out something that you did wrong, so don’t approach teamwork this way. Instead, adopt an easy attitude, and every time your more uptight nature appears, think about how you would feel if someone told you what you feel like telling them.
See Also: How to Embrace Your Exhaustion at Work
If easy-breezy doesn’t describe your typical personality at the office, check out this how-to guide and learn some ways to adopt a more aggreable nature in order to succeed. Your colleagues will love the new you and find you much easier to work with, your boss will be impressed that you can react to situations and constructive criticism in such a calm way, and you will ultimately see more career success.