How to Work Well With Others
General Tips for a Better Workplace Environment
There are many situations within your workplace that you have no control over. There are going to be unpleasant people, back stabbers, and a whole host of other personalities that don’t quite mesh with each other. But there are certain tips that workers can take to make for a better environment.
It’s very difficult to work with people who don’t maintain their hygiene. Body odor makes it tough for others to concentrate on their work. This is especially challenging from a cultural standpoint as not all cultures believe in bathing as frequently as others. This sometimes requires management to step in to explain that it is necessary in order to establish a better working environment.
Many companies have dress codes. But some people push those dress codes to the edge a bit. Clothes may be too tight or loose and gives everyone around the impression of being unprofessional.
Do you leave your papers and other stuff around your desk? You are showing others that you are unorganized. It’s also difficult for a messy person to work in that kind of environment. It’s one thing to leave papers around but if you are leaving items such as food this can lead to problems of rodent and critter infestation. Some companies do not allow their employees to consume food or beverages at their desks for this very reason.
It’s important for everyone in the workplace to respect the rights of each other and to be courteous. It’s common sense but it’s amazing how there are people that won’t do this.
People who do not take ethics seriously can be hazardous to work with. They could put the company in jeopardy as well as try to get others to join in on the unethical behavior. Companies now offer mandatory training programs on teaching ethical behaviors.
It would be quite difficult for others to work when one employee is blasting loud music during the workday. Some environments, like auto shops, may allow it and the employees of those types of companies are used to it. For most environments, it’s important to maintain a relatively quiet atmosphere.
It used to be that companies didn’t pry into people’s lives when it came to employees maintaining their health. Things are changing in this regard. Employees that maintain a healthier lifestyle are absent less and tend to have more energy. Many companies are offering incentives such as gym memberships and programs to help employees with quitting smoking, etc.
Pick Your Battles at Work
You and your co workers are busy at work. Therefore, addressing issues can take time away from your own duties, that of your coworkers, and it may even be something your manager needs to get involved with. This is not to say that there aren’t any important issues that need to be addressed. In fact, managers don’t want people that are unwilling to bring any issues up. It’s a delicate balance and one that requires you to pick your battles.
The first question you need to ask yourself, are you raising issues because you are not very fond of a certain coworker? Maybe those issues all concern that coworker and you can’t help but raise any issues whenever he does something you don’t agree with, which could be all of the time. This is a difficult situation because you’ll need to try to scale back your personal feelings with the coworker and try to take a more cordial stance. If the issue does not affect the business in a big way, it’s probably something that can be let go.
If you work to reverse the situation and start getting along with the coworker, you will find that you both will get more done and your manager will take notice of this change. Instead of constantly being at odds and hoping the other fails, you both will share ways that help improve your productivity.
Raising issues all the time can also label you as a complainer. This is definitely not a good position to be in and it can actually have the opposite effect after a while, of crying wolf. People who constantly raise issues are not going to be taken seriously. They are seen as a nuisance to management and are likely to be one of the first to be let go during cutbacks.
By contrast, people that don’t raise issues that often, are going to be taken much more seriously at times when they do. Obviously, they see the issue as important enough to address. Managers will likely pay attention to these issues and focus on them.
When you do decide to raise an issue, try the following: offer an alternative solution. Perhaps you had a situation in a prior job where you tried what was being proposed and it did not work out and you found the alternative worked out much better. By offering an alternative, you’ve removed the stigma that is associated with complaining and you have set up the environment with little to no management intervention since the solution is already mapped out.
Look Within Before Passing on Blame
Teamwork is a tricky concept. The ideal situation for a team is for everyone to get along and work together. But personalities are different and are bound to clash. When things go wrong, some team members will automatically blame other members when in fact, they are the ones that made the error.
The key to avoiding this situation, is to make absolutely sure that the steps you took did not lead to the problem, whatever that problem may be. Double check facts, or if you are on a programming team, recheck your code, to make sure that your work is not the cause. Once you make the mistake of blaming someone else and it is later revealed that you are to blame, this is a very difficult situation to save face. It also creates a mistrust with the entire team, and possibly even the manager. It’s best to completely avoid this situation altogether.
If you are sure that you are not to blame and you know who is, it’s important for the team members to approach the person tactfully and avoid any appearance of ganging up on him or her. Otherwise, the team member may feel vulnerable and that will likely put him or her on the defense. This is simply a waste of time and can be avoided. If it’s a serious error, it may be wise for the team to escalate the situation for the manager to handle it, although the ideal situation if for the team to take charge.
You may find that some members will continually pass on blame, even when it’s been shown time and again that they are the responsible party. If you find a member that does this to you, the best course of action is to not get defensive yourself.
Simply be prepared to show them, nicely, that what you did was not the cause. You don’t even have to mention that you know they are the cause at that moment. Discuss it with the team and again, try to find a way to show this person that they are the cause. If all else fails, then it becomes a management issue.
There will never be a perfect team environment and you will almost certainly have team members who are sloppy and make constant mistakes. This can create a challenge for the team but by remaining calm and focused on solving whatever the problem is, the team can move forward with the project.
How Volunteering Can Bring Coworkers Closer Together
Many companies encourage their workers to volunteer. Some corporations even require their employees to perform a certain number of hours volunteering. In this case, employees often ask why they refer to it as volunteering when it is mandatory. Whether it is forced upon the employees or not, it can help to bring coworkers together.
These companies work with charities in the local area and schedule times for the employees to sign up. They do this multiple times throughout the year so if an employee can’t make it on one date, they will have other opportunities to do so.
The main reason volunteering helps coworkers bind is because they are working toward the common goal with the result of helping others who may be less advantaged. The company makes every effort to have teams of people schedule at the same time. A manager of one group will try to schedule a session when the entire team is able to make the commitment.
Sometimes, the task being performed requires the team to solve problems. This helps the team learn new skills in order to solve those problems and they do this together. Often, the team will meet up after the volunteering session at a restaurant or pub and discuss the event. It’s almost a given that they become closer as a team when they do this. The more events they do this with, the closer the team becomes. There will often be pictures taken during and after the event, which will be placed on the company’s intranet for everyone to see.
When a team volunteers, managers will often join the event as well. But the role of the manager at the event is often one of the same as all the other members. This is because someone else is running the event, such as the coordinator of the local charity. So for the duration of the event, the manager is just like everyone else. This can introduce a whole different dynamic, at least for a temporary time. When people are removed from their usual routines, bonds tend to form in ways that the entire team never imagined.
There are always going to be members of any team, that doesn’t want to volunteer. If the company does not force them to do so, these employees will probably not participate. This is not in their best interest and they will likely be looked over anytime a promotion is up for grabs.