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5 Tips to be a Great Co-Worker


7/11/2011 3:32:19 PM

By Angela Rose, BioSpace.com

Making Friends, Not Enemies...

Your interactions with co-workers quite heavily influence your job enjoyment. In fact, a survey conducted by a national specialty staffing and recruiting services firm indentified “liking their co-workers” as the second biggest reason why professionals stay at a particular job. Whether you’ve been with the same team for years or are just starting with a new company, consider these five simple tips to be a great co-worker. You’ll likely find that you get back what you give.

1. Make Your Mother Proud
Think back to childhood; what did your mother tell you to do to be polite? From always saying “please” and “thank you,” to speaking with an “inside voice,” your mother’s words of wisdom can be applied directly to your interactions in the corporate world. This also means no cursing, even if you work in a casual or creative environment. Unless you’re a sailor, save the *%$# and f-bombs for the weekend.

2. When You Can, Lend a Hand
If you see an opportunity to assist a co-worker, no matter how small, take it. A minute out of your day to hold a door, or five out of your lunch break to bring something back for someone who can’t leave the office, won’t prevent you from getting your own work done. If you find yourself with free time, ask around to see if there are any projects that need extra hands.

3. Avoid the Blame Game
We all make mistakes. If you find that you’ve made one at the office, admit it as soon as possible. Honesty is always the best policy. Cover-ups are always uncovered. Taking accountability for your actions is mature and responsible. Mature and responsible professionals move up in their careers, despite the occasional human error. Those who pass the blame do not.

4. Always Act Your Age
You are not a teenager or a two-year-old, so don’t act like one at the office. Was a client mean to you? Don’t cry. Did your boss deny your vacation request? Don’t throw a tantrum. Did you see Bob from accounting go into a “massage parlor” while you were at the dry cleaners next door? Keep it to yourself. Great co-workers never cry, throw tantrums or gossip. In addition, if they find themselves taking issue with another co-worker, they address it promptly and tactfully.

5. If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say, Find Something
As the old adage goes, you’ll kill more flies with honey than with vinegar. An attempt to connect in some way with everyone in your office, whether you have anything in common with them or not, is an easy way to be a good co-worker. It’s not being fake to ask the receptionist how his weekend was, or to compliment the account rep on her shoes. Friendly wins friends, and friends are good to have.

Practice these tips and you may find yourself enjoying your time at the office a little bit more. These days, raises may be hard to come by, but a great relationship with your co-workers won’t cost you a dime.

About the Author

Angela Rose researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues for BioSpace.com.

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