It’s crazy just how much time we spend with our colleagues at work. It’s often at least 8 hours, which is probably way more than the hours you spend with anyone else—even your spouse while awake. Of course, being in such proximity with colleagues frequently can be tricky.
No one expects you to be buddies with your colleagues, but you must be able to get along with them amicably. Yes, even that colleague whose every word gets on your nerves. And the one who chews with his mouth open. Beyond qualifications and experience, organisations want to know that you can function well as part of a larger unit.
Team Work is Non-Negotiable
Whatever your job description is, you need to work with others in some way. It may be in tiny ways like just reviewing another’s work or passing on work for review. Or it may be in more involved ways like needing to do most of your work in conjunction with others. However your work is set up, team playing is a growth ladder in the corporate space. Everyone is watching how you work well or otherwise with others, so don’t be the complainer. Don’t be the spotlight-hog. Don’t be the one who doesn’t carry her weight. It will come up when you are being appraised or considered for promotions.
Get Better at It
Differences in work styles/ethics and opinions will happen; however, you must manage them well. Some key skills to doing this are:
Communication – This solves so many issues, and when done politely and without resentment, can make teamwork a breeze.
Listening – Yes, this is part of communication, but it’s worth it is own mention. Listen to others, resist the temptation to dismiss their ideas, and respond to their points.
Empathy – Try to understand where a person is coming from. This may necessitate adjusting your work-style to suit theirs, where possible. Often, it may just require accepting their style without grumbling because it’s not how you would have done it.
Collaboration – Resist the temptation to do it alone. Resist the temptation to impose your ideas and style. Give credit where it is due.
Respect – This covers a multitude of sins. Be respectful at work no matter what the other person has or has not done. Yes, even when you need to get someone to do things better, speak respectfully.
It’s Not About You
In the end, remember that it’s about the job that needs to get done and not about you. You will have to put your emotions aside often. You will have to ignore quirks or even direct slights from colleagues. If anything needs your reaction, do it respectfully and do it through the appropriate channels. Whatever happens, don’t compromise on being efficient and effective in carrying out your tasks.
Teamwork really makes the dream work, as they say, so we could all gain from cultivating better relationships with colleagues.
Have you ever had a crazy teamwork experience? Share.