Imagine it – waking up every morning and being excited to go to work. Excited to collaborate with your fellow workers, do your share of the workload, and receive guidance from your boss. This idyllic scene can happen, but it starts with you. How you behave at work can make or break the productivity and contentment of your team – and you.
Be trustworthy: many employees must handle sensitive company information. A breach of confidentiality could cause your team members to lose trust in you, not to mention creating legal or financial issues for the company. On a personal level, it is hard not to learn about personal aspects of your co-workers’ lives. When a team member shares a secret about himself, keep it to yourself!
Be circumspect: whether it’s keeping the music down on your headphones or not hiding the 3-hole punch under a pile of papers, your team members will appreciate you if you join them in a quiet and organized workspace. And don’t forget about the break room. Chip in and help keep all communal spaces spotless. Everyone will be more productive.
Be affirming: in small ways, such as saying “Hello” in the morning, to giving credit for another team member’s work, interact with your co-workers. Acknowledging them on both work and personal levels creates a harmonious workplace.
Be late: whether it’s a meeting, or an email that needs a response, show respect for your team members by being on top of deadlines and timetables that affect your team. Team members can feel disrespected when you don’t make this simple effort.
Be negative or dramatic: the sky is not falling. You are not all going to be fired. Avoid negativity and drama in your attitude and interactions. Make sure you do not criticize the company. This will save you from someday wondering why no one wants you as a lunch companion – or a team member.
Be drunk or high: aside from the obvious impact on your own productivity, substance abuse can lower the morale of your co-workers, cause trouble with your team leaders, or get you sacked. The use of substances can shine the spotlight of suspicion on your team, and prompt the company to monitor alcohol and drug use through an oral fluid lab test. If you have a problem, get help.
Team leaders have a role in fostering team spirit. Use feedback and honest communication to recognize employees’ accomplishments, or to respond to chronically negative or dramatic employees. Recognize that employees need friends at work, and encourage your team to build relationships. Stand by your team and their jobs when problems arise, and model positive ways to address those problems.
Whether you are a team member or leader, you have a role in making your workplace productive, happy and healthy. It boils down to courtesy, professionalism and respect. It may be a bit overworked, but if you treat others as you want to be treated, and do your job at your highest level, you will be a part of creating a utopian workplace.