In our modern working world, the best way to maintain job security and keep your career on track is to become comfortable with insecurity. Where previous generations could focus their energy on impressing their managers and not concern themselves too much with the careers of their coworkers, the modern workplace just doesn’t work this way. The success of a company depends on teamwork, and the success of an individual career depends on close friendships, a strong social network, and a wide field of connections across a given industry. So if you aren’t sure your office contacts are on track to becoming your friends, or you’d like to find ways to strengthen the ties that bind you to your coworkers, keep these tips in mind.
1. Get help by giving help.
When you want something from someone, focus on the other person’s needs, plans and desires, not your own. Before you make your approach, think. What is this person going through right now? What does he want more than anything else? And how can you provide what he wants, reduce his anxiety levels, move obstacles from his path, or help him get where he needs to go? Answer these questions before you ask him to advise, reward, support or help you with your own endeavors.
2. Gain respect by showing respect.
Before you expect others to address you with respect or acknowledge your value, you’ll need to show them the same level of respect you hope to receive in turn. It doesn’t matter if the other person stands above, below, or parallel to you on the social and professional ladder. Treat them as well as or better than you’d like to be treated.
3. Energy and enthusiasm are contagious.
When you walk into a room, do you bring an elevated level of energy and investment with you? Do you smile when you cross a threshold or see the face of someone you know? Do you listen carefully, maintain eye contact, and use people’s names when you greet them or say good bye? Keeping an eye on these things will elevate the mood and eventually the entire culture of the workplace around you.
4. The contagion is passed in subtle ways.
By the same token, negative attitudes are also spread through indirect channels like facial expressions and gestures. So recognize this and don’t let one bad apple in a room bring you down. Whenever you engage with others, resist downward slides and encourage upward ones. While you’re at it, screen your speech for words with negative and positive implications. The most subtle word choices and suggestions can have a powerful impact on the strength of your relationships.
Think carefully about your words, your gestures, your facial expressions and you true intentions before you ask a coworker to trust you or accept your trust in turn. For more guidance on how to handle this process, contact the Little Rock staffing and career management experts at CSS.