Coworkers comes to the workplace with different expectations backgrounds, relationships and experiences. We have to be careful to pick and choose whom we confide in. If you aren’t sure, then wait. We are all anxious to settle in and get to know our new work family. Mindful execution will pay off. Here is how. In your first month you’re going to meet a bunch of people that you don’t know. It’s hard to know why someone joined a particular department. Their job may be the same but their path to this career is different than yours. While you’re learning about your coworkers, I suggest you create a blank board and see if others write on it first. I would withhold some personal information, particularly your opinions. You want to start off on a good foot but something you may say can hit a sensitive spot. Try the Give and Get sequence. Ask a question or two about a safe subject such as departmental goals or time in service, and see if you receive a response. If your questions are not answered with enthusiasm or accompanied by opinion, then hold back on your own. Work on slowly building a rapport before straying too far away from the day to day work routine. Creating an atmosphere where others can share their opinions will give you a test field on whether it is appropriate to share yours.
Whether you are a team manager or an individual contributor, there are certain norms that we have learned while growing up that still apply today. I often loved the book and the expression that everything we need to know we learned in kindergarten. Not quite – but some common rules apply. One golden role – say Hello and Goodnight to any of your coworkers you see when you start your work day or end it. This can take many forms: “Hey”, “how are you”, “did you watch that game yesterday”, “what a commute today”, “sunny day”, “how was the weekend” . Some form of acknowledgement is required to improve collaboration and support teamwork and camaraderie. Not only is it a common courtesy, but it tells your coworkers that I am interested in being a member of this team and that I respect you as a person (even if you don’t like their work), and that in turn, I expect the same consideration. At the end of the day, an acknowledgement is also needed, for those you see along your pathway to the door, and even going a little out of your way to stop and recognize their presence again. What if you are normally quiet, is this still required? The answer is Yes!!, especially in this case. Coworkers of quiet people need reinforcement to gauge the attitude of their coworkers. Is there a problem? Is he or she unhappy with their work life? Are we good?
On your way into the job today, stop and say “hey”, you will likely be greeted in the same way, and have set a positive tone for the rest of the day.
Every year, new college grads hit the job market in search of their dream job. Armed with the degree, and hopefully an internship or a summer job in their field, they arrive for work unprepared for the trials and challenges of a business setting. Learning beyond the classroom begins immediately. This blog series will assist those just starting out in their career by relaying both positive and difficult lessons learned, and most importantly, how to rebound and grow from your own experiences.