Having social skills / interpersonal skills is an invaluable tool in the workplace. To better intuit and understand the behavior of another human being it is crucial to practice mindfulness. Better understanding of a coworker means not to make snap judgments; it means listening carefully and sometimes writing something down twice before confronting said coworker with a grievance.
I think the most important thing would be to get an overview of a coworker’s perspective. I think it is important to remember than one’s own perspective in the workplace is not universal. If a coworker disagrees with one’s stance, one should not simply dismiss the coworker’s opinion. Doing so would simply hurt the office’s morale. Instead, one should at least get some perspective on why a coworker believes in that stance and understand the underlying issues that make him or her take that stance and then do the same for the coworker. In that way, the dialog is more open and both sides prosper more.
There’s no better way to figure out what will help people the most than to just straight up ask them. Surveys, interviews, emails, whatever tool works best – as long as people are getting helped! I asked a few of my visitors, test takers, and researchers to share their thoughts to help me better understand how people work.
I’m sharing it with you in hopes you’d get something out of it, too. I’m also trying to bring their words to you with as little filtering as possible, so please bear with the awesome level of personal-tough this article has.
Now’s the time to focus on your professional development, your career growth, and the overall future of all things job related.
Today’s Focus: Better Understanding A Coworker
‘R’ = Richard N. Stephenson (me!)
‘I’ = Interviewee (anonymous by request unless otherwise noted)
[This interview is part of research and market studies done for the DOPE Bird Personality Test: Click Here to Learn More.]
R: What would someone really get out of this?
I: By better understanding your coworker you are creating a better work environment for the both of you. You will be able to work together more efficiently and feel better about the work you do. Work becomes less stressful and there is less of a chance for conflict.
R: Think about the topic for a bit and then describe what’s so special about it for most folks?
I: Better understanding a coworker is the best way to have an enjoyable and effective work space. In order for a business or organization to run the most efficiently, it is important that everyone on the team get along. Sometimes we may find that we have personality conflicts and issues with those we work with, and letting this get in the way of our work can have poor results.
As such, it is important that we take the time to try to understand where our coworker is coming from and what we can do to get along. This is important so that our personal issues and misunderstandings do not get in the way of our work performance.
A lot of the time we may end up realizing that our issues were simple and easily fixed with a polite conversation and mutual understanding. There is nothing but benefit for those who take the time to have good work relations with their coworkers.
R: Improving those around us is a key concept in life-optimization. How do you think this topic fits in?
I: Understanding how to accept your coworkers for who they are is important to a non-aggressive work place. If you have a problem with someone, let them know and try to work it out. This is part of understanding them. Also, ask them if they have problems with how you work. Peace will come from this.
R: Who do you think is best when it comes to this topic?
I: This would describe a person who is open minded and realizes that not everyone reacts the same to situations. For example, a person may appear unfriendly, when in fact he/she is being shy. A person may sound conceited, when in fact he is covering up an insecurity. The type of person who recognizes these factors will understand that not all coworkers are the same and they shouldn’t be expected to act in the same ways.
R: Do you know anyone who could use a little more help on this?
I: While better understanding a coworker in a shared work environment is very important for ensuring smooth work operations, those who do not work in a public environment or are not in a formal job situation would not find this useful. Many people are self-employed or are employed in situations such that they do not have coworkers and thus needing to understand coworkers would be irrelevant to them.
Also, those incapable of holding a formal job, such as children or those with disabling physical or mental conditions, would not find it useful or relevant to need to know how to better understand a coworker. Getting along with coworkers is most helpful to those who share a work environment with others and not useful to those who do not.
R: Can you tell us what it’s like to have this subject in your life?
I: To better understand a coworker, one could begin by asking questions about the coworker’s life. They could ask about his or her previous work history, their family life, or where they went to school. They could also ask other members of the team about their experience with this new coworker.
R: Can you let us know when you think a good time to pay attention to this subject is?
I: If you are understanding where your coworker is coming from or maybe health or home stresses you might be able to have more patience with that person if they are late or maybe less productive than usual. If you can understand their thought process you might understand that their way of thinking is not really off the wall thinking but just a different perspective. If you understand someone you can learn and grow from them as well.
R: Tell me about an inappropriate time to bring up this topic or use it in life?
I: The longer someone works at their job, the harder it is to introduce them to the idea that they need to better understand their coworkers. People who have been at companies for a long time tend to be very set in their ways; they like who they like and dislike what they dislike.
They’ve seen many people come and go, so they’re not likely to get too close to new coworkers, not necessarily out of malicious intent, but simply because they just see no real reason to do so. Employees who are very set in their ways will be the least receptive to talks and lectures about better understanding their coworkers, because they’ll believe that they know best.
R: Where in people’s daily lives do you think this topic would fit in nicely?
I: In a meeting, or when discussing how to increase worker productivity and harmony. This can be used anywhere in businesses where teamwork is ideal. It gives you a better understanding of your coworker,
R: Give an example of where folks should not be working on this subject.
I: In a professional environment it is important to get along with the people you work with, but trying to understand what makes a co-worker tick might be inappropriate. Some office cultures encourage and promote casual conversation and networking, but some places are more professional and prefer to concentrate on the task at hand.
If a co-worker is not talkative and is all business, he might not appreciate another co-worker asking he why he should loosen up. Sometimes it is better to focus on work rather than getting personal in the workplace.
R: What kind of person would benefit from looking into this subject further?
I: All different types of Business could benefit from this because it could lead to a healthier and more productive work environment. As well as allow for the pairing of those who have certain strengths with those who make lack those same skills. It could also create a deeper sense of compassion and understanding as to why someone may function the way that they do.
R: What would you tell the readers to do if they wanted to get help with this topic soon?
I: I would say that he should try and put himself in his coworker’s shoes. When I don’t understand what someone is doing, especially a coworker, I try and look at things from his perspective. Don’t get me wrong…this is not easy, especially when you think you’re being taken advantage of. But a lot of times there is more than meets the eye. SO I would simply advise to avoid jumping to conclusions and making an attempt to look at it from the other person’s perspective.
R: Give me an idea of something people should avoid in learning more about this topic.
I: When speaking with a coworker, people should avoid asking very personal questions. People should be kind and considerate of the other person. They should not be rude.
R: This topic is broad and the readers will need some focus. Can you help guide them along with an example of what to do next?
I: To better understand a coworker, you should try talking to them about something other than work. You will see their true personality and interests, and maybe connect those things with their work ethic. This will also help to develop a better relationship with your co-worker, then they may be more willing to open up to you.
Did you find at least one or two golden nuggets of useful information in there? I hope so – I know I love reading these and seeing how I can apply this wisdom to my life. Make it your goal today to take at least 1 thing away from this post and try to live your life more focused from now on.
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