Some employees spend an inordinate amount of time identifying problems. Honestly? That’s the easy part. Thoughtful solutions are the challenge that will earn respect and admiration from your coworkers and bosses.
Your willingness to defend your solution until a better or improved approach is decided on by the team is also a plus. Your commitment to the implementation of the solution finally selected matters in idea generation, too.
You alienate coworkers, supervisors, and reporting staff. Yes, you may need to identify who was involved in a problem. You may even ask Dr. W. Edwards Deming’s recommended question: what about the work system caused the employee to fail? The system is the source of most problems.
But saying that it’s not my fault and publicly identifying and blaming others for failures will earn you enemies. Throwing other employees under the bus, either privately or publicly, will also create enemies. These enemies will, in turn, help you to fail. You do need allies at work. Remember this if you want to accomplish your goals and dreams.
If you talk down to another employee, use sarcasm, or sound nasty, the other employee hears you. Humans are all radar machines that constantly scope out the environment. When you talk to another employee with a lack of respect, the message comes through loudly and clearly.
In one organization, a high-level manager once asked this question of a consultant, “I know you don’t think I should scream at my employees. But sometimes, they make me so mad. When is it ever appropriate for me to scream at the employees?”
The answer? Never, of course, if respect for people is a hallmark of your organization—which it should be, and it is in massively successful companies.
If the first time a coworker hears about a problem is in a staff meeting or from an email sent to their supervisor, you have blindsided the coworker. Always discuss problems first, with the people directly involved who own the work system.
Also called ambushing your coworkers, you will never build effective work alliances unless your coworkers trust you. And without alliances, you will never accomplish the most important goals for your job and career. You cannot do it alone, so treat your coworkers as you expect them to treat you.
In an organization, work is interconnected. If you fail to meet deadlines and commitments, you affect the work of other employees. Always keep commitments, and if you can’t, make sure all affected employees know what happened. Provide a new due date and make every possible effort to honor the new deadline.
It is not okay for an organization to just quietly allow deadlines to slip by. Your coworkers, even if they fail to confront you, will think less of you and disrespect your actions. And, no, don’t think even for a second that they didn’t notice that the deadline passed. You insult them if you even consider the possibility that they didn’t notice.
How often do you accomplish a goal or complete a project with no help from others? If you are a manager, how many of the great ideas you promote were contributed by staff members?
Take the time, and expend the energy, to thank, reward, recognize and specify the contributions of the people who help you succeed. It is a no-fail approach to building effective work relationships. Share credit; deflect blame and failure.
Every employee in your organization has talents, skills, and experience. If you can help fellow employees harness their best abilities, you benefit the organization immeasurably. The growth of individual employees benefits the whole.
Compliment, praise, and notice their contributions. You don’t have to be a manager to help create a positive, motivating environment for employees. In this environment, employees do find and contribute their greatness in seeking the accomplishment of the organization’s purpose and goals. They will always remember that you were part of bringing it out of them. Those interpersonal work relationships are cherished.