Deal with it

Published on November 17th, 2015

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How to be a good colleague

Being a good colleague at office has a positive effect on everyone around you, and by extension, the higher ups.
by The Editors | editor@themetrognome.in

We have all experienced the effects of obnoxious colleagues. They are rude, brash, uncivilised, miserly and rarely say a good word about anyone. In contrast, we also hold a special place in our hearts for those who are the exact opposite – sincere, affectionate, humorous, and compassionate. Everybody wants to have a good office colleague who can, in time, even become a good friend. But how many of us are able to achieve this level of ‘goodness’?

It is not that difficult to be a good office colleague; fundamentally, it is possible only if you are a decent human being to be a decent colleague, or else you will just come off as insincere and pretentious. Here’s how you start:

Be a team player. We are all employed to do a certain job and earn our salaries. However, it doesn’t help to be so rigid in our thinking at work. We must certainly finish our daily tasks first, but isn’t it nice if somebody asks if we need help when we are lagging behind? Be sincere in offering assistance or taking on someone’s workload if you have finished your own work and have time to kill. If nothing else, help a team that is racing to finish work against a deadline by getting them coffee and snacks at their desks so that they don’t have to interrupt their work. It is nice to help others without an ulterior motive – it puts you in a good frame of mind and your colleagues will love you for being supportive in times of need.

Be generous with your time and resources. Nobody likes a stingy colleague, who doesn’t contribute money for a common cause (such as helping out a colleague who has met with an accident or to get a present for somebody). People also hate those who never pitch in to buy the occasional treat for the office, but who line up to partake of the feast. If you are unable to contribute money for some reason, contribute your time. Volunteer to put up the decorations, or write out messages, or coordinate a small party. The key is to become a part of the team, not remain aloof.

Don’t claim credit for a team project. It may happen that you pitched an idea or gave an input that ultimately helped a project get on the right track. When the project finally succeeds, you should never remind anyone that it was your good idea that helped the process. Be modest when others compliment you on your talent and skills, but don’t jump in and agree with what the others say. The less you say about your own achievements, the more people will appreciate you for your modesty.

Plan new things for the group to do. We all lead very stressed lives, with most of us spending a majority of our waking hours in the office. In this situation, it is very important for each of us de-stress. If not daily, there should at least be a weekly activity that helps the office relax and laugh. If the office doesn’t follow a policy of regular team lunches or movie outings, initiate an activity that everybody will appreciate. Plan a film outing on a Friday evening, or an impromptu snacks and soft drinks party. If nothing else, keep an hour aside after lunch and play some really silly games that everybody will love participating in. People naturally gravitate towards bonding activities, and they will appreciate you for bringing a much needed stress-buster in the office.

Always take the high road. This is easier said than done, but it has huge long-term implications. If your boss yells at you in front of everyone, don’t argue but don’t be apologetic about his or her bad behaviour. Tell them calmly that you would like to revisit the issue once he or she has calmed down, and not before. This may shame the person into behaving better next time, and they might grudgingly even admit that you handled the situation with poise and maturity. The same applies to fights with colleagues. Sometimes, you may even argue with your best friend at work, but don’t engage in shouting matches and arguments in front of the others; but take it outside in a neutral environment. If somebody sends you a string of nasty or threatening messages or emails, do not respond to them till you are certain you can handle the situation in a mature way. Think twice before reporting somebody to the management – remember that obnoxious behaviour is sometimes just a cry for attention and can be swiftly tackled with understanding and firmness.

(Picture courtesy www.pamper.co.in. Image is used for representational purpose only)

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