How to be professional goes hand in hand with how to be a great co-worker. I think this is a topic that is a great one to give my lessons about. As a professor, whenever I say we are doing group projects almost everyone groans. People need to realize this being in groups will follow them for their whole lives. So much of our career is spent dealing with other people. Every group project in college is an unmitigated disaster yet I still assign group projects in all of my classes. Why? Because I am a jerk? No, because that is real life. You will graduate and you will be assailed by the same stereotypical group members that you had for your worst ever group project in almost every way at work. Some people do get very lucky and never deal with that dynamic again but think about it – if you have never had a bad experience with a co-worker at work, maybe YOU are the bad co-worker? (I imagine someone sitting there and thinking -- Mind = blown.)
Everyone has a horror story or just wears badges of honor from dealing with political minefields at work. If you really sit and compare your work and your place in the office hierarchy on a daily basis, you will go insane. You cannot do that. You can, however, be the best most professional version of you that you can be. You can focus on your tasks and on motivating those around you to be the best they can be, too. This is not easy.
This is being a project manager – you become responsible for the greater picture and all of a sudden ,even though you hate talking to that person you are now responsible for that person doing their deliverable. This is being in a matrix organization, too, though – you do not even have to consider yourself a project manager (trust me you are one or you can be one if you let me unlock your potential here http://wagner.edu/lifelong-learning/career-management-seminar/) you can just be in any modern organization with more than 10 employees. Tasks overlap and what you need done has to be done for your to succeed. Do you know how to motivate someone to do that (blogger note to self: future blog post idea).
A way to be a go-to member on any team is to be a good co-worker. You can do this by:
What do you think about these steps to being a great co-worker? Do you think it is important to be considered a great co-worker? Why or why not? Happy Hunting!
Lisa Vento Nielsen