robably more people than you realize spend the majority of their time working with others in an employment-related situation. And, unless they’re lucky, these individuals don’t get to pick who their co-workers are. Unfortunately, not everyone knows how to get along with others. This can cause all kinds of difficult situations, making it almost impossible to get through the day.
Working well with others is crucial in any situation. However, it’s even more important in a workplace environment. Why? It boils down to things like efficiency, productivity and employee morale… just to name a few. The size of the company or business you work for really doesn’t matter. The rules are basically the same if you work with one other person or 1,000. Each individual deserves the same level of consideration.
During your job search, have you ever noticed the phrase “must work well with others” in the job description or on the application? If so, there’s a very good reason for this. Employers do not want to hire individuals who don’t work well with others. It typically causes problems right from the beginning.
Define Who “Others” Can Be
In this case, “others” can be defined as everyone you come into contact with while on the job. Obviously, the answer is going to be different for everyone. However, it can include the boss, your co-workers, the customers or clients you interact with, any vendors you utilize, the HR team, maintenance or cleaning staff… the list goes on. One of the main reasons it’s so important to treat everyone equally is that you never know what a person might be able to help you with or do for you in the future. Of course, that means never taking advantage of that particular person’s assistance or eagerness to help, under any circumstances.
Are you familiar with the expression “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know?” Think of it like this. Someone you don’t interact with on a daily basis, but still consider a friendly acquaintance, could share a tip with you regarding a friend who happens to be hiring for a position you’d love to have. Without that tip, you wouldn’t be aware of the opportunity. This scenario happens much more than you probably think. Just another reason to be considerate to everyone.
Another possibility is making a friend you wouldn’t otherwise have. Diversity in the workplace is more commonplace than ever before. This gives individuals a much better chance of becoming friends with someone who isn’t part of their everyday life. It might be someone who works in a different department or the person who maintains the office grounds. When it comes to meeting and making a new friend, the possibilities are almost endless.
Why It Can Be Challenging to Work with Others
There are several reasons why it can be challenging to work with others. Many people have a tendency to bring their egos to their job site. It could be that these individuals are really self-conscious and unsure of themselves underneath. So, they use a big ego as a cover-up. Quite honestly, grandstanding at work backfires more often than not. It creates resentment and bad feelings very quickly. When an employee doesn’t work well with others, for whatever reason, chances are high that that person will end up getting terminated.
If this unbecoming behavior continues, the same person risks getting terminated over and over again until he or she finally finds a job where getting along with people doesn’t matter. It’s a sad scenario when you think about it. Don’t let it happen to you!
Another challenging part of working with others is making an effort to avoid competition. If a fellow employee isn’t getting along with you, it may be because of the competitive aspects of your job description and the fact that they’re trying to beat you at something. Yes, it’s true that a bit of friendly competition can entice workers into improving their performance. However, bringing someone else’s work performance up in order to get to them isn’t going to do anything other than hurt their feelings. This can lead to a decrease in your own performance and could even cause you to think about moving on and finding a job elsewhere.
The Importance of Respect
If everyone on the job isn’t being treated with respect, it can be bad for business. If you don’t feel like you’re being treated with respect at work, it can be extremely difficult to do your best. The same is true of your co-workers. They may not be able to perform their duties efficiently if and when their confidence has been put into check by a disrespectful co-worker. A mutual respect between workers also helps to foster an environment of co-operation between members of the team. If you respect the people you work with, it’s much easier to work with them toward achieving a goal. If you don’t have any respect for your co-workers or their abilities, why would you count on them to help you out?
The best way for a team of employees to build a bond of mutual respect is through training and exercises meant to help everyone to get to know co-workers and their skills. It can be as simple an activity as having each team member share their name and parts of their job they feel they’re best at. In an environment where disrespectful behavior is common, conflict is more likely to break out between you and your co-workers. But, it’s important that you don’t let disrespectful behavior get to you and cause you to act the same way.
A dispute at work has a negative impact on both morale and overall productivity. If you feel like a co-worker isn’t treating you with respect, talk to them about their behavior in a calm, respectful manner. If they aren’t willing to discuss it, take the issue to your boss or supervisor.