The Colleague Commandments
Monday, February 8, 2010
Dos and don'ts for a harmonious workplace
Do you make the most of your working relationships? Here's a list of workplace dos and don'ts from our career experts.
Denise McAnulty, the general manager of Manpower Australia says: "Workplace relationships can often be difficult to manage. You are inevitably going to work with a mixture of people, many of whom you would not choose to interact with outside work." But there are ways around these corporate crises!
- Be adaptable. Career consultant Katie Roberts says: "Adjust your communication style to suit each person. If they are a really quiet person, respect their privacy. If they are really outgoing, make the effort to socialise with them."
- Respect your co-workers. HR specialist Richard Johnson says: "Treat other people they way you'd like to be treated." You'll find the office environment much more pleasant if it's harmonious.
- Know when to leave a job! McAnulty says: "If it doesn't look like you and your boss are ever going to see eye to eye, it could be a good idea to reassess your career options and find a job that is better suited to you." There's a perfect job out there for everyone!
- Learn to say 'no' to people. If there's a colleague who keeps running to you for help or a boss who asks too much of you, set boundaries early and they won't take advantage. Johnson says: "Try and help but don't end up doing someone else's job."
- Remember your manners at all times. A composed worker with good work etiquette, a polite telephone manner and well-kept clothes is much more likely to nab a promotion than a rude slob.
- Listen to others. You'll give yourself a competitive edge in the workplace if you have a sympathetic ear and show a little interest in your co-workers.
- Correct mistakes quickly and easily at work. If you blame errors on others and avoid taking responsibility, you'll be about as popular as a chicken wing at a conference for vegetarians.
- Be oversensitive in the office. Everyone has bad days, including you. If someone snaps at you or gives you criticism, either keep out of their way or take their comments in a constructive manner.
- Get involved in office politics. Keep your head down and you'll earn a professional reputation with your colleagues and bosses. And, Roberts adds: "Avoid workplace gossip at all costs."
- Discuss your personal life with others at work. The Managing Director doesn't want to know that you have an amazing new vibrator and the 54-year-old secretary in Accounts doesn't care that you got hammered and threw up in your own handbag on Thursday night.
- Fall out with people in the office. "Remember, you are working with your colleagues towards a common goal at least that is one thing you have in common!" says McAnulty.
- Spend hours social networking in the office. "Twitter, Facebook and MySpace can wait until you're at home but professional networking is important, so why not mingle on business sites like LinkedIn. Always use these sites in a professional manner," says Johnson.
- Tell fibs! If you earn a rep as a compulsive liar, nobody will trust you. "Always be open with your colleagues. If you have a problem, don't ignore it. Approach them one-on-one and tell them how you feel," says Roberts. A little honesty goes a long way.
- Be single-minded. Richard says: "Always put yourself in the other person's shoes. If you empathise with how they feel, it will make it easier to resolve any differences you may have."