Relationships with Co-Workers
Survey results by The Society for Human Resource Management clearly illustrate the significant role of relationships in the workplace. The study focused on identifying the causes of performance problems in the workplace and found that, in more than 65% of cases, problem employees (many of whom wound up getting fired) didn't lack technical skills or motivation, but rather suffered from strained relationships with co-workers. Another study, by the Bureau of Vocational Guidance at Harvard, shows that, for every person who loses a job because of poor quality work, two more are fired because they simply cannot deal successfully with other people.
Getting Along with Co-workers:
In the job setting, you are faced with a different situation, somewhat paradoxical in nature. You and your peers are working for the same organization with the objective of helping the organization fulfill its mission. That is why they are paying you. In order to function effectively you must be able to work well with others. You will be continually called upon to engage in teamwork to complete a task or project. At the same time, you are competing with these peers for recognition and advancement.
Entry-level positions vary greatly in personal contact. You may have very little contact with your peers in the organization or you may work side-by-side with a whole group of them. It is important that you cooperate, get along well, and develop relationships of mutual support with them. One of the most challenging issues in the workplace is to get along with co-workers that you don't like. Make every effort to develop positive working relationships with all of your co-workers. Those who stay with the organization will be advancing with you as you assume management roles, and your ability to work with them will magnify in importance.
When you begin meeting your peers, be friendly but don't immediately join a clique. Spend some time observing how people act, who performs well, and who takes a positive view toward the job and the organization. There is a good chance that one or more perpetual gripers will try to befriend you and add you to their group, spending lunch hours talking about how bad things are. Keep your distance. Look for those who are doing well on the job, and whose personalities you can relate to. The gripers are going nowhere.
Hopefully, some of your co-workers will become good friends. The above paragraphs are not meant to discourage your willingness to establish on-the-job friendships, but you need to be cautious. Unlike college where you can add and drop acquaintances at the drop of a hat, job-related relationships must go on even where two people may have little in common personally.
Return to the Main Menu.