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Working Well with Others

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What impact do our personalities have on our co-workers? How do our personal approaches to problem solving help or hinder our ability to accomplish our work? How can we be more effective communicators?

Our personality and behavior influence how we act at work and how we get along with others, so understanding ourselves and why we process information the way we do can help us work better with others. Are you a visual learner but your boss likes to spend hours in meetings giving long, verbal explanations? Take notes – it will help you organize the information in a way that makes sense to you without putting pressure on your boss to change her communication style to meet your specific needs. Instead of explaining to your team how you think and process information, take the opportunity to understand yourself and your needs, yet listen and learn from others about how to most effectively operate within your organization.

Oftentimes employees expect the system or people around them to change, to accommodate their needs, but realistically, that’s not going to happen. I notice this especially with younger employees just starting out in the workforce. Tammy Erickson’s book, Plugged In: The Generation Y Guide to Thriving at Work really resonated with me – she does an excellent job presenting oodles of research to show how different Gen Y is and where we’re coming from. Tammy also points out how much Gen Y has to contribute to the workplace and how our ideas about doing things differently are great, but not always realistic. The point of the book, in my opinion, is to help Gen Y employees learn how to fit in and get their ideas heard by working within the system before they can best navigate ways to change it. There are so many different personalities, age groups, and management styles at play in the workplace. Since you cannot change the people you work with and oftentimes cannot change the rules, figure out how you can tackle issues by adjusting your method – this will bring more results than struggling to do things your way.

Approaching a difference of opinion without taking it personally can take practice, but it’s worth it. If you are open-minded and really try to understand the other person’s point of view, you could come away with a broader understanding of the problem, which will only help you implement the best solution (even if it’s not your solution or is a hybrid of it). By taking a deep breath and being open to new ways of thinking you may find it spurs your creative thinking and is more effective than digging your heels in and sticking to your own ideas. Learning more about how we as individuals learn and interact with others and then approaching difficult relationships like a challenge (e.g., “How can I make this work?” or “how can I adjust my style so this person better understands me?”) benefits employees and the organization. Knowing thyself is the first step, but working well with others is essential.

Photo Credit http://www.flickr.com/photos/clspeace / CC BY 2.0

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Jessica McKenzie, MS published on February 10, 2010 4:34 PM.

Focusing on What Really Matters - Extra Cheese was the previous entry in this blog.

Don’t Always Believe the Hype: Ask for Sound Numbers (and Promises) is the next entry in this blog.

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