As the new academic year begins in earnest, I felt reminding one another on work ethics would be great as:

Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success – Henry Ford.

Most workplaces include an element of collaborative working, so it’s important to be aware of how your feelings and behaviours affect others.

Developing the right habits when it comes to working with others will result in leadership opportunities, higher pay, and more rewarding work.

The following tips will help you to forge positive working relationships with your colleagues.

Greet people when you come into work

By saying good morning to those around you, and offering a warm welcome to those arriving later, you are setting the tone for a positive and open atmosphere.

I ALWAYS greet people in the morning and “Good morning colleagues” is one of my favourites.

“People skills are, in short, the various attributes and competencies that allow one to play well with others.” – David Parnell

Be on time

When you’re late for an appointment, you break your word and show that you’re unreliable.

You’re also sending the message that the other person’s time doesn’t matter to you.

That said, despite the best of intentions and preparations, sometimes things happen that are outside our control. When they do, communicate and renegotiate the time, apologize profusely, and if you’re ever late to anything ever again, make sure it isn’t a meeting with the same person.

Be approachable throughout the day

Giving off a friendly persona indicates that you are interested in others and likely to be easy to deal with.

To do this, smile, instigate conversations, respond to questions positively and engage with others’ points of view.

“Having the ability to relate to others and their position or viewpoint is crucial in business. By having a well-rounded personality and set of experiences, it’s usually possible to relate to almost anyone.” – Terri Hockett

Manage your mood

Everyone has a bad day now and then. But shouting, criticising, and being aggressive will only make you look unprofessional. If you need to calm down after something hasn’t gone exactly to plan, take a break and compose yourself before engaging with others again.

Inconsistent behaviour can lead to alienation, as people will not want to risk being on the receiving end of your bad mood. If this does happen, make immediate amends with a genuine apology.

“If you’re patient with others and can keep a level head in stressful situations, it will definitely be noticed by management and perceived as a very strong asset.” – Amy Hoover.

Put your phone away

If your mobile phone is on the table while you’re speaking to someone, the message you are sending is “I’m waiting for something more important than you.” If you’re holding your mobile phone in your hand, the message is “You’re not nearly as important as what you’re keeping me from doing on my phone.”

It is always a good gesture to put your mobile phone away whilst dealing with clients and colleagues.

Say sorry if it’s warranted

If you have made a mistake or said the wrong thing, apologise for it. Do not try to avoid any difficult or uncomfortable situations, as this will result in tension or negative feelings building and causing an awkward atmosphere for everyone else.

Instead, resolve any potential conflict as quickly as possible.

Share knowledge

The strength of a team is usually greater than the sum of its parts. This means that your team will be able to achieve more together than as individuals.

So, if you know something of worth, share this with your team members and encourage them to do the same with each other.

Offer help and advice

If you see a colleague struggling with a problem or a busy workload, try to assist in some way. Just enquiring if help is needed can make all the difference to the other person. If your own areas of expertise allow you to provide advice, or you’re in a position to offer assistance, then do it.

Your colleague is unlikely to forget this help and will be more willing to return the favour when you are in a similar position.

“When your boss is forced to deal with a situation where people have lost their cool he or she will certainly remember the troublemakers when the next promotion comes available.” – Amy Hoover.

Use your position constructively

Valuing your colleagues is fundamental to good teamwork. However, this cannot be achieved if you think you’re better than everyone else or use your status to get your own way. If you always assume you’re right, you’re likely to be missing some valuable input, insight or ideas.

Always take time to listen to other people’s views and opinions, and consider them before making a decision. Fostering a culture of team working helps share the workload, the responsibility and the rewards.

Be flexible too

Being “likable” or having a “good personality” are highly contingent and desirable attribute to have. Some prison-bound uncle’s personality may not be likable to many people but it may serve him well once incarcerated. Good to excellent communicators have a keen ability to shift gears when the context calls for it, and a deep well of communication options to choose from. This way, they can respond accordingly to what the current situation requires and by being flexible they can fit and adjust to situations accordingly.

“If you can bend your own rules and beliefs, you are by definition a ‘good people person.’ –  Lynn Taylor

In short, being known as someone who keeps an open mind also makes you more approachable and easier to work with.

Take responsibility

When something goes wrong, it’s human nature to say “It wasn’t my fault.” What you’re also saying is “I wasn’t in control of the situation.” That isn’t exactly reassuring to those who depend on you. People feel safe around others who are in control and have the power to bend reality to their wills.

Take responsibility, plan for success, and you’ll find yourself surrounded by people who want to help you succeed.

Be sensitive to the moods of others

Although it’s preferable to leave problems at home, sometimes it’s not that easy for others. If someone isn’t performing well, or is having a bad day, understand that there may be reasons behind this.

Don’t be quick to assume the worst; take the time to find out if there’s anything you can do to help.  More essentially, always try to offer support, sympathy and feedback in your daily business life as it will It will bring you positive emotional returns.

“People want others to believe in them, regardless of how successful they might be. By showing support in the form of encouragement, you can put someone back on track or keep them headed in the right direction.” – Terri Hockett.

 Thank colleagues for their hard work and be interested in them

It’s always good to thank people for any work that they have done for you, or that you have benefited from. However, if someone has gone the extra mile for you or you can see that they have put in considerable effort, be sure to offer praise and recognition, including a simple ‘thank you’ – show sincere appreciation.

Getting into the habit of expressing gratitude will help to improve people’s impressions and attitudes towards you. It costs you nothing, but everyone walks away richer. If you have trouble feeling sincere at first, remember that if you sincerely want to be sincere, you are.

A genuine interest in others is an important element at work as Ryan Kahn says. “If you’re not showing a genuine interest – asking thoughtful questions and considering about their answers – your interaction can actually have an opposite effect to the one intended. Take care to remember names, dates and important life events.”

Share credit

Three things happen when you share credit for a job well done:

  • First, the person you share credit with will like you.
  • Second, everyone else will respect and like you, and they’ll want to work with you, because they’ll see that you don’t try to take all the glory for yourself.
  • Third, you won’t look like a selfish jerk, which is what happens when you try to take credit for yourself, even if the credit is truly yours.

Respond to emails immediately/always; double check your email responses

If it will take less than two minutes to respond to an email, respond immediately. If it will take longer, mark it for follow up.

Take 10 seconds before sending any email to check two things; 1) that you’re sending it to the right person, 2) that you remembered any attachments.

Many people ask a question via email, get a response, and then never respond with “Thanks!” An email dialogue is active until it’s closed, and you don’t want to be the one to leave it open. Don’t leave those you communicate with wondering if you received what they sent you.

Look at people when they’re talking

We look away from others’ faces when we lack confidence, are lying, or just have poor habits. If you’re lying, stop it, but most of us are just uncomfortable staring at someone’s face. There’s only one way to get over it and make it feel natural, and that’s to practice doing it until it becomes a habit.

Looking away once in a while for a second is still natural–there’s no need for a rock-steady gaze, but if you find yourself saying entire sentences while staring away from the person you’re speaking to, then there’s room for improvement.

Plan your day

There are many ways to plan out your day, but to make it simple, and carve out 10 minutes each morning to run through your day. What about making a list of what you want to get done, and schedule when you’ll do it? At the end of the day, review your plan. Don’t let your inbox manage your time.

People enjoy working with other people who are in control, and they lose respect for those who are constantly scrambling about putting out fires.

Don’t quit – I mean, not your job!

I don’t mean you shouldn’t quit your job–maybe you should. I mean don’t give up on improving yourself. If you find yourself thinking “I’m just not very social, I’m just not good with people,” then you might be right, but the lie comes when you tell yourself you can’t change.

You can’t change the cards you’ve been dealt, but you can do the best you can with what you’ve got, and you have substantially more opportunities to create a winning hand than in a game of poker.

Many of the successful people around you aren’t that bright, they just kept on going when others quit. People like working with individuals who keep on going, no matter what.

“We were given two ears and one mouth [so] be a good listener and remain sensitive to the needs of your workers and boss [or colleagues]. This people skill can be practiced; and once honed, you’ll see the difference in the positive reaction of those around you.” – Lynn Taylor

As of old: Be EMPOWERED and EXCEL!

Are there any simple habits you’ve found that help you work well with others? Share in the comments below, please.


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