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Being the Best Colleague

Don’t be a Meh Colleague

With the amount of time people spend amongst colleagues whether that’s physically in an office, via Google Hangouts virtually, or outside of work at their favorite Happy Hour establishment, there are certain traits we all look for in someone that makes them a good co-worker.

The average person spends 90,000 hours of their lifetime at work, that’s 13 years and two months. Hopefully it’s not something you’ve endured already, but imagine being in a relationship with someone for 13 years and not really enjoying it. Make sure you aren’t the colleague that brings this burden on others by following these simple tips to being a great co-worker.

Provide Encouragement

Think of how you feel when someone tells you that you’re doing a great job at something, especially when it’s someone you may admire or collaborate with in the workplace. The power of positivity is real and it’s proven that encouraging words not only help employees stick to their daily good habits from the beginning, but also make them work harder at their responsibilities to garner more encouragement along the way. The reinforcement is addictive.

Now think about your first day at a new job. The mixture of excitement and anxiety can be a little unsettling at first. Imagine that a colleague or group of colleagues provided you encouragement as you took on this new role, it would only make you feel important and valued. And who doesn’t want to feel that way?

Remain a Calming Influence

Tensions can run high in any workplace no matter the industry so it’s important to remain cool when things might heat up. When you abide by the mantra of taking a deep breath and counting to ten, you not only develop patience, but that mini timeout allows you to collect yourself and then react. The goal is to eliminate the negative response that might emerge in a pressure-filled situation, showcasing your emotional intelligence as a colleague.

Calm people don’t freak out, they focus and evaluate the situation. These types of people are ones others tend to lean towards and lean on. Who better to align yourself within a crisis situation than someone you know would be able to guide you calmly through the process?

Emulate Honest Abe

You’ve been lied to in the workplace, whether it was done intentionally or not. Colleagues who tell you an exaggeration of the truth or just flat-out lie to you not only make for awful teammates but ones you don’t want to hitch your wagon to. A study at the University of Massachusetts found that at least 60 percent of people lie during a ten-minute conversation. TEN MINUTES! So how many ten-minute conversations can you have in 13 years and 2 months? Exactly.

What’s even worse is that being dishonest actually triggers a stress response in the body, activating a “fight or flight” reaction and removing the ability to think logically. What was the last project you did at work that didn’t call for logic to complete it?

Be Reliable

When it comes to working, one of the most frustrating situations can be when a colleague doesn’t do what they say they are going to do. You complete everything on your end and your teammate doesn’t follow through on their responsibilities, and in some cases, this can completely upend a project or result in a missed deadline. As a colleague, it’s important to be committed to others you work with and understand that your actions can affect others.

We all know the peer who is constantly late for meetings, and deep down we don’t feel comfortable having to count on them for much. Things come up all the time in life where work takes a back seat, forcing employees to ask for help in getting their responsibilities covered. If a colleague can’t show up on time or complete their own work, how can you feel confident in asking them for help?

Exude Passion

This starts by putting yourself in a situation where you can truly be passionate. If you’re in a job or career that brings you no passion, then bringing passion into the workplace isn’t something that will come naturally. This is easier said than done, as many people might be in jobs that they don’t truly love because they need to provide for themselves or their family. Sadly enough, only 13 percent of people across the globe actually like going to work. What might not be thought about is the burden of spending 13 years and 2 months of your life doing something you don’t like and how that can translate to life outside of work.

Sometimes it’s not as simple as just following your passion, but finding passion in what you might already be doing. Stop and think about what makes you happy while working, focus on that and make a point to include it each day. This will help you think more positively, which in turn can affect how you react to your co-workers in a good way, thus creating a snowball effect in the right direction within the workplace. Who would honestly object to more positivity in the workplace?

Act Empathetically

This sounds like something we all could better at according to a study done by Businesssolver that found there to be a big disconnect between how employees view their CEO and how CEOs view their organization when it comes to empathy. Sometimes we need to remember that the people we work with are still humans who have feelings and deal with real, life-changing situations inside and outside of work. Being empathetic doesn’t mean co-workers need coddling, it means that as a colleague you can understand and share the feelings of your teammate. This allows you to better respond appropriately to whatever situation they are facing and by doing so can indirectly affect the work environment in a positive manner.

In the 2019 State of the Workplace Empathy study, 93 percent of employees said they’re more likely to stay with an empathetic employer. Who can afford to lose good talent over something that can be controlled within the workplace culture?

With the amount of time spent at work, you owe it to yourself and your colleagues to be the best you possible. Thirteen years and 2 months is a long time to be in a relationship that is just, meh.