We all spend a good number of our waking hours at work. And many of those hours are spent interacting with coworkers. So how do you make the most of those interactions? Here are 12 keys to being a great coworker:
1. Always converse with honesty and integrity
It can be tempting to join the gossip or rumor mill around the office. But nothing can be more detrimental to one’s career then building a reputation that you are a gossip. Coworkers will start to avoid and distrust you. The safest approach is to simply not participate in spreading rumors.
2. Talk about solutions, not just problems
It's easy to complain about problems. In fact, it’s almost human nature. It’s much more difficult to come up with solutions to problems. But solutions are what drives innovation and progress within any business. Come up with a few good ones and you will quickly get a reputation as a problem solver and a go-to coworker.
3. Limit conversations about personal life
Conversations about one’s personal life are bound to come up in the work place. But its best to keep them to a minimum and within the realm of what’s appropriate at work. Nobody wants to hear all the details of your weekend every Monday morning.
4. Be the first to say “good morning”
It sounds like such a simple thing, but good coworkers help set the tone in the office. Be the first to say “good morning” and you will find that such a simple expression will draw people to you over time and open up conversations.
5. Take a genuine interest in your coworkers
The number one motivator at the workplace is when people feel they are important and contributing to the greater good of the company. And nothing makes employees feel this way like a coworker taking a genuine interest in how they are doing and what they are doing. It doesn’t matter if you are their manager or not, making coworkers feel valued is an important part of being a good coworker.
6. Ask others opinions
People love to give their opinions. It makes them feel valued. Never hesitate to ask what someone else thinks of your idea or a project you are working on. It doesn’t mean you always have to take their advice, but it opens up a window for conversation and often enables you to see something that you didn’t see before. It also makes you a coworker that others will respect.
7. It's about what’s best for the company
Your opinions and decisions should always be about what’s best for the company. Sometimes it's easy to be influenced by personal bias, but ultimately, your job is to make decisions that will benefit your company, even if that aren’t popular. Company focused decisions are not always easy in the short term but will earn the respect of your coworkers in the long run.
8. Honest compliments are gold
Everyone loves to receive compliments. Just make sure they are honest and work-appropriate. Too many compliments seem fake and compliments about personal matters such as appearance are risky. Honest, work related compliments are the safest bet and something that coworkers will appreciate.
9. Respond to emails and phone calls promptly
There is nothing more frustrating than sending an email to a coworker asking for some information only to have your request ignored. Don’t be that coworker. Return emails and phone calls within a reasonable amount of time and earn the undying appreciation of your colleagues.
10. Be on time
Consistently showing up late to meetings is disrespectful of others time and will quickly gain you an unfavorable reputation. Show respect for your coworkers and be on time. And if for some reason you are unable to make a scheduled meeting let the other attendee(s) know as soon as possible.
11. Never assume, get information straight from the source
Getting caught up in rumors and gossip is easy. But it can be damaging to individuals and companies. If you hear something negative or unfavorable about a coworker, go to the source. Often the story is much different or facts have been left out unless you hear it from the original source. Always listen to other coworkers but only act on information that comes directly from the affected individual.
12. Keep it clean
Foul smelling cubes or offices are one of the major workplace complaints. Be sensitive to your colleagues when eating lunch at your desk. Leave the fish leftovers at home. Remember that an office is a closed in area and smells, good and bad, will circulate through the ventilation system. Also, keep perfumes and colognes to a minimum. Nobody likes to be overwhelmed by a scent no matter how good it is.