Haven’t you heard the saying “One does not choose one’s own parents”. I believe it is not just about Parents, many times we do not have a choice of our coworkers either. While with parents the lack of choice is not considered a burden and I am yet to find someone who wished they had a choice in there.
But when it comes to coworkers I have heard stories and I am sure some might say so about me as well. It is not about people being hard to work with (though that trait is also exists). It is often the difficulty to build that synergy amidst a variable of priorities of personal traits and professional aspirations. ‘Who you are’ , ‘How you work’ and ‘what you believe in’ matters a lot in traversing these situation without making it tougher.
For me except for a very few instances I have been able to get along with most of my coworkers and I consider myself lucky. This is why I get so amused when people say they have no problem working with anyone. Everyone has a problem with someone because we all are different, but we all work through it.
How do we make some informed decisions when we enter a new job, role or consulting assignment. Here are few things I have found helpful when I entered new roles.
Observe: The first few days I get on an assignment I take the time to observe how people work. I observe both the people I have been introduced to as well as those I have not been
Listen: Take more time to listen to people and from that you also get a good feel of the terrain.
Don’t judge: From what ever you hear bad, never make a judgement of someone unless you have interacted with them and experienced first hand. What you heard might be true, but that might be an isolated issue with one individual and not all
Expect Surprises: Now this is an interesting fact and you end up feeling low about someone in spite of all the great words from others. Work on that, may be you need to change
Help and Learn: One best way to learn about people and the work and many more is by extending a hand to help them in something. It can be anything small, but agree to help.
Be Genuinely Interested: Having a genuine interest in people is a big asset in both work and life. The Social Media is a great tool and always a good way to get a lot of information about a person or their passion and find underlying connections and mutual interests that can build bridges to garner greater collaboration
Be Honest: I know that when you land on a new position, trying to impress is a necessary evil that not many people can escape from. But the need to be honest is far more important than the need to impress.
I know it is not a 7 or 10 step formula but a trait that you need to imbibe into yourself. If you are effective in that you will see better collaboration during your tenure there. Helps you become part of the work and not get sucked into the politics. Everyone has that little initial time when they join and the way you interact, understand, learn and help your new coworkers are the best way to make them rely and approach you as you move ahead.
And if you are an old timer interacting with the new guy in the block do your best to make him or her part of you (even if you did not have a say in selecting them) because after all you all have a collective success while together