Your Colleagues - Helping to be helped

Anyone would think, with the amount of emphasis put on networking and ?team? behavior, that colleagues were some sort of furniture in the workplace. A group identity is fine, but it's not the whole story.

On the job or anywhere else, a relationship with another human being is a potentially complex thing. Working with someone adds to the complexity. Because you're interdependent on each other, the relationship has the potential to become an interpersonal issue.

In any relationship, the chances are that you?ll get what you give to it.

That applies to every one you work with. Few people tolerate anyone they consider unreliable on the job. Everyone has known someone they really think just isn't any good at their work, a problem-creator. Generally, that impression is given by specific incidents, which have a strong negative effect on the relationship.

Think about that for a second.

Say you saw someone really louse up a job, and everyone else got lumbered with the damage control. How did it happen? Did the person make a mess because they lacked help? Were they given bad advice? Could it have been prevented?

Generally mistakes have causes. The impression that someone's unreliable or bad at their work is created by situations like that. People get reputations from things like that, and it affects the relationships with everyone around them.

Now- Say you're in a job where you're not entirely sure what you have to do. The boss isn't around. You try to find out from colleagues, and get treated like an idiot.

Or maybe you don't have any faith in their ability to help you, because you think they're not very good at their own jobs.

Or maybe you don't like to ask because you think it will reflect badly on you.

Great relationship, isn't it? Really productive, too, guaranteed to cause problems for everyone. Almost certainly a few major ones, too. So a potential disaster is created because the relationships with colleagues have failed, completely.

The alternative is to have good working relationships.

Trust is earned, not just given.

There?s another way of looking at that situation: Advice is needed.

Most people will acknowledge someone who is being careful about their work, and competent people will appreciate it, too.

Experienced people tend to be more understanding. They may be horrified that nobody bothered to tell you what you need to do, or how to do it, or that you were left alone on a job with no backup.

So they should be. Nobody really works alone. Everybody's work affects everyone else, to some degree.

You create a better relationship almost immediately by showing some respect for your responsibilities, and acknowledging the experience of others. They also get a better impression of you as someone with the sense to make sure you're doing the right thing.

This is ?Helping to be helped? in the most literal context.

There?s another level to this process. Once a good working relationship is established, and colleagues have earned each other?s trust, a resource is created. The workplace now has two people with the ability to work well together.

The bit in the interview about 'forming positive working relationships' isn't just some sort of management science gimmick. It has practical applications, every day, to everybody.

Real teamwork is based on good relationships. Efficiency and mutual support are entirely based on teamwork. Good business and productive work are based on efficiency.

It's a reasonable expectation that staff form working relationships. It makes the workplace a much nicer place to be, and it achieves more because communications and interactions are much smoother. Problems are solved much faster, because people know they can trust each other?s capabilities and judgment.

They're on the same page.

That's where you need to be, to work well with people.

See Also :

  • Colleague mistake with messenger
  • Bullying on the job
  • Sexual Discrimination
  • Quit Job due to a co-worker