You may think you are a star on the work floor; you're always on time, and your productivity is sky high. Yet you are overlooked for that promotion and you feel you have been involved in too many dramas with your colleagues. You may have developed the perfect technical skills for your role, but does this suffice to be a good employee and colleague?  

a few simple steps to develop better work relations

Think of this scenario; your car breaks down while you're on holiday and requires an immediate repair. So you take your phone and read the reviews of nearby garages. You are of course looking for a mechanic who knows about your type of car, but you also want a kind mechanic? Someone who understands your situation? In the business world, employees with the best 'people skills' – such as work ethic, dedication and communication – are the most successful. Here are five quick and clever tips to improve your soft skills and to contribute to a more pleasant workplace.

find a compromise

You aren't the boss (or perhaps you are, but even then this is important information). Even if you're completely certain that your solution for a project is the best, listen to your colleagues and be open to change. Perhaps you will hear something you've missed or hadn't considered. This will make you regarded as a good team player and someone colleagues like working with.

let your voice be heard

We aren't mind readers. We can't smell what's bothering you or when you're stressed, unless you indicate this. If you need help or extra time to finish a project, then kindly ask for help. You may be stressed, but no one wants to work with someone who is irritated. Don't get angry with a colleague who is 'bothering you' by starting a conversation about last weekend's football match. Definitely do not do this if this person doesn't know how busy you are.

It's also important to bear in mind that communication requires two people. Answer your e-mails and your voicemail briefly and clearly. Try to deal with subsequent questions and add the answers in your first reaction or message. Also give your colleagues a reasonable amount of time to reply to your messages before contacting them again. It's better to say something twice than not at all. Make sure you don't come across as pushy or even aggressive.

keep smiling

We all have a bad day sometimes. It's still important to not take out your bad mood on other members of the team. It's not your colleague's fault that you spilled coffee in the car or you forgot to take lunch with you. You know that something always happens during your workday that is unexpected and unwanted. Make sure you make an extra effort not to react too heavily at these times. If things get too much, then take some distance from your work for a few minutes. Sometimes even a fifteen-minute coffee break is enough to take the edge off. You can then get back to work with fresh courage!

get rid of your bad habits

Have you ever sat next to someone who had a bad habit that made you go to-ta-lly insane? Did it even get so bad that you started to associate this person with this annoying habit? If so, remember that your own bad habits can also annoy your colleagues. Fidgeting with your pen or tapping your feet can be annoying to others. And that tapping your nails on the table, only do this at home.

be sociable!

We're not talking about social media here. Put your smartphone away and have a real conversation. Try to connect. What are their favourite TV series? What do they do in their free time? You will be amazed about what you have in common. This makes communicating easier and more natural. That said: who doesn't enjoy gossiping about The Voice or I'm a Celebrity?

By taking time to improve your soft skills, you limit arguments and excesses on the work floor. Give it a try!

Test your soft skills: which are important for finding and keeping a job?