Posts Tagged ‘work environment’

Becoming an Effective Team Member

August 18, 2017

All eyes seem to be looking for a strong leader. From the ballot box to the boardroom, we value and praise trustworthy leaders. While leadership skills are critical they are of little use without followers. Yes, the idea of being a follower is often frowned upon. But think about it: if everyone is a leader, nothing gets done. Talk about a waste of time, energy and money. Learning to be an effective follower is an invaluable skill that can help you in both your work and personal life.

So what does it take to be an effective follower? For starters, humility and the ability to be led. Critical thinking skills and active participation are also big components. Other habits effective followers practice are: adaptability, honesty, loyalty, and integrity. Effective followers identify with the goals of the leader and collaborate accordingly.

We spend the majority of our time in groups. Our work, family, friends, and neighborhoods represent some group settings. While we may possess leadership skills, there are countless benefits to developing our “followership skills” as well.

  • Complementarity – Becoming a good follower is learning how to be an effective team member. In a group setting, everyone has something valuable to bring to the table. Strengths and weaknesses balance out as each individual offers their unique skill set.
  • Community – Learning best occurs in shared environments. What better way to bond than through laughter or voicing frustrations with your fellow sojourners.
  • Increased Opportunities – Curious how others think or work? Humble followers can respect the differences of their fellow group members and learn from them.
  • Stronger Together – Working with others creates an environment of accountability and support. This power can motivate individuals to perform at a greater level of success than if alone. Satisfaction rates also increase dramatically with the encouragement of others.

Even if you’re a strong leader, becoming an effective follower will only improve your leadership skills. Understanding group dynamics, while valuing everyone’s role, will equip you to lead with success. And that’s a win for the whole team.


Coworker Woes – Dealing with Unprofessional Colleagues

June 8, 2015

In many office environments, employees have less than collegial relationships, a new survey shows. Over twenty percent of respondents recently surveyed said they work with someone who is rude or unprofessional on the job. Of those, 68% felt coworkers frequently behave badly – and not just to the people who report to them. More than half (59%) of all workers surveyed said their boorish colleagues are equal-opportunity offenders, upsetting subordinates, peers and superior alike.

OfficeTeam, a staffing service specializing in the placement of administrative professionals, developed the survey. The interviews were conducted by an independent research firm and include responses from 532 full- or part-time workers 18 years of age or older and employed in office environments.

“Most employees will encounter an unpleasant colleague at some point, and how they interact with these coworkers can affect their careers,” said Diane Domeyer, executive director of OfficeTeam. “Tactfully handling challenging personalities requires strong interpersonal skills and diplomacy, which can help someone stand out for all the right reasons.”

Coping With Unpleasant Colleagues

Although nobody likes working with someone who is inconsiderate or unkind, the survey suggests those who have been in the workforce the longest may have built up immunity to bad behavior. Among respondents, 35% of those age 65 and older said inconsiderate coworkers should be tolerated as long as they are good at their jobs.

The Belittler – Belittlers routinely tear others down in order to build themselves up. Put downs, demeaning remarks and disparaging comments are common trademarks of this person.

Coping strategy: Your confidence is the belittler’s weakness, and he or she will back off if you stand up for yourself. Try refuting a belittler’s criticism by asserting yourself, using facts where possible. For example, if he or she puts down one of your ideas, say “it’s something that’s worked for X, Y and Z, and it’s also more cost-effective than what we’re doing now.”

The Credit Thief – Insecure about their status, credit thieves boldly steal your ideas and grab the glory when a project is successful. Curiously, they are nowhere to be found when things go wrong.

Coping strategy: Keep a written record of your activities and accomplishments. Give your manager regular status reports about the projects you are working on, and don’t hesitate to correct misperceptions (for example, “Actually, I did the research; John helped input the data”).

The Saboteur – Saboteurs have a knack for leaving colleagues in the lurch. Similar to the belittler, they like to make others look bad. Their tactics aren’t always overt, so you may not realize you are working with a saboteur until a critical deadline arrives. Then, you find you are unable to complete your part of the project because the saboteur has withheld important information.

Coping strategy: Be sure your supervisor or project manager knows the roles and responsibilities of each team member, and insist on regular progress reports so that saboteurs can’t take advantage of lapses in oversight.

The Rumormonger – Rumormongers like drama and often spread half-truths or lies by talking behind others’ backs. This is an especially dangerous type of coworker because he or she has the ability to tarnish your reputation.

Coping strategy: The best defense is to avoid engaging in any kind of gossip – remember that anything you say can be held against you. If the rumormonger starts swapping stories with you, say only good things about your colleagues and excuse yourself as quickly as possible.

The Slacker – This person may try to pass off tasks to other staff members. The slacker often claims he or she is “too busy” to help out yet will make time for water cooler chats and web surfing during office hours.

Coping Strategy: Be sure this person carries his or her weight on project teams by documenting the responsibilities of each member of the group and making for regular status reports. Hold everyone accountable for his or her portion of the project, and be firm with deadlines.