Can you remember the day you reported to your first employment?
It was a day of nervous expectation, right? Oh, you were nervous, alright. But you didn’t know what to expect; where to be ushered in first, what is the company like, what will your assignment be, will you have a terror of a boss or someone more friendly?
Too sooth your nerves you talked to the first guy who seemed open to light conversation with a newcomer like you. Unwittingly, that initial effort of trying to fit in led to either of two things: you established the basis for a long lasting friendship or your future interaction with him.
The typical “first impression is always lasting,” syndrome.
Either way, it affected your career aspirations in ways you never expected a few years hence.
That first encounter either made smooth your going up the organizational ladder or made it tougher to climb.
Such is the nature of organizational dynamics – a term you never even heard of when you walked through that organization’s doors. Now you are in the thick of it and must learn how to play the game, not only to stay afloat, but to get ahead of the pack.
According to SuccessFactors.com, improving morale, creating loyalty and increasing overall productivity are the necessary keys for a corporation to clobber the competition.
In a micro level, your career success is dependent on very much the same factors corporations need. In short, you need to wiggle yourself into your co-workers hearts and minds to make them help you in your career goals – and you in theirs.
Even if you bungled it the first time, you can still catch up. But it requires the skill of a diplomat. Tweet this!
A typical corporation, small or big, is a microcosm of people whose character traits are as varied as the stars. Some have personalities only their mothers can love, while others would love to bury a dagger on your back just to test you. The majority wait on the sidelines, observing what stuff you are made of.
They are the ones you must try all you can to get to your side.
Don’t’ wait for them to reach their hands out for a shake. That may never come. Reach out to take them by surprise. That is what I call “gumption- filled” initiative. Call it chutzpah if you may.
Newcomers may find this tough because they think that to be timid or coy is more appropriate; that coming on too strong may be taken by the old-timers as being too presumptuous. Well, doors are never opened by a nudge of a finger, but with a slight push of the entire hand.
If you want to make a first impression, make a good one Tweet this!. Don’t wait to be invited to the party. Invite yourself in with open arms and the biggest smile you can give.
Once you have made a good landing, follow this 7-step formula to get your officemates to like you enough to help you, not sabotage your every effort:
1. Don’t be judgmental:
We all tend to view the world through filters developed as we grew up. What we see and feel are filtered images of the real world around us.
While this may be useful in some way, like being true to your ideals and core values, you may miss out the bigger picture if you expect others to fit into the mould you made for yourself. Besides, that will never happen.
By being judgmental, you don’t get to know the real people you work with, e.g., their fears and motivations, their likes and dislikes, their hopes and ambitions, what turns them on or off, and many other things that make up a whole person.
“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned, forgive, and you will be forgiven.” Luke 6:37
2. Focus on Others, not You:
You have more time than you need for yourself in any given 24-hr period. Make it a point to focus on “them” while you are in the office.
Minimize the use of, if at all, the words, “I,” “Me,” and “‘Myself.” Instead stuff your speech with “You,” “Us,” and “We.”
There is no way you can make your officemates work with you if you are so engrossed with yourself. Nobody ever succeeded alone, but by the help of others.
Nature gave us two ears, yet a lot of us are deaf because we are too busy listening to ourselves than the people we work with.
Listening is a skill that has to be developed. It is not simply being quiet while others say their piece. That is simply hearing.
Hearing and listening are two different things. Hearing is a sensation while listening is focused attention.
Hearing without digesting and understanding isn’t listening. Listening starts when you digest, process and understand what you hear.
It is an essential part of effective communication. In fact studies show that listening is one of the character traits of successful executives.
4. Show empathy:
Empathy is the ability to see the world as another person, to share and understand another person’s feelings, needs, concerns and/or emotional state.
It is the Law of Reciprocity in action – if you want people to like you, show that you like them first.
“When you start to develop your powers of empathy and imagination, the whole world opens up to you.” – Sarah Sarandon
5. Do not Overstay Your Welcome:
There is nothing that turns people off faster than flicking a light switch than to take up much of their time with non work-related issues.
People in the office are busy; they want to make the best of their time so they can attend to their personal activities at the stroke of 5.
If you must discuss things with them, be specific and brief. Call ahead to see if they are available. Simply barging is impolite.
If calling is impossible and you need to drop in without prior notice, start your visit by saying, “Excuse me, I know you are busy. But I need to bring this up with you. It will take only a few minutes of your time.”
Studies show that people are more receptive of impromptu visits if they know that it will only be for a short time.
So make it specific, to the point and brief.
A smile is cheap, is in abundant supply and so easy to give away. Yet, the world is full poker-faced people as if burdened with all the problems of the world.
A smile is certainly the only thing you can distribute daily in your office that costs
On the contrary, a winsome, sincere and warm smile, if done regularly, can leverage your career a lot better more than all the self-improvement and management seminars under your belt.
It is more effective in breaking the ice than an ice crusher, and a good exercise to make you look and feel younger.
7. Be assertive:
To be assertive is to “insist, in a forthright and positive manner, the recognition of your rights.”
It is a way of communicating yourself to others that, in a nutshell, says, “Look guys, I want to be with you in a way that benefits us all. I know you have your ways of doing things, as I do have mine. But rather than lock horns, can we work together to make them better?”
To be assertive is to recognize that “…you’re going to have a different opinion or view on certain topics or issues. You need to stand your ground by sharing your view.” Michael Barbarulo
I have met and worked with a lot of people who struggled so hard to be liked by their officemates. I was one of them. We struggle because we are always torn between our own core values and idealism with those we work with.
Some people are born with the gift while others have to fight hard to get it. I am one of the latter and the above steps made my journey a lot easier.
They can help you, too.