Are You a Positive Office Influence?

A few months ago, we told you about behavior that’s most likely bothering your office mates: inappropriate jokes, taking calls on speakerphone, non-stop chatting, and more. There’s another side to know, too. Creating a positive office impact is just as important as not annoying people. Here are seven easy ways to avoid workplace doldrums, lift your coworkers out of stagnation, remove petty resentments, and create office cheer.

Do your work well
It’s easy, day after day, to concentrate only on what we need to get done, forgetting how it affects our coworkers. Simply being reliable is the most important thing you can do for your work team. Like interlocking gears, there’s a good chance your teammates need your work done well and on time in order to complete their tasks. And even in the largest corporations, every person in every department is there for a reason. If we all want to stay employed at a functioning company, we need to pull our weight. It’s the first step to office health and happiness.

When your work is done, rather than going home early, see if you can help someone else finish up. They’ll appreciate it and maybe return the favor.

Share resources
You probably know when a teammate is swamped. Sharing a little of your time can really help them out and prevent delays. Or, is there something you can do to make your shared space better? Sweep up the spilled sugar in the kitchen. Give someone a ride home. Share an important assignment. Your time is limited, but helping out a little can make a big difference. Likewise, sharing the time of an intern, sales leads, and facetime with your boss are just as important as sharing paperclips and ballpoint pens. Hoarding does no one any good.

Give credit
The surest way to create tension and resentment in an office is to take credit for someone else’s work. Simple praise that includes your teammates will allow your coworkers to share in your glory. It’s a mistake to think of your workplace as a zero-sum game where there can be only one winner. In reality, seeing and feeling your wins and losses as a team helps everyone, including you. After all, you’re not hired to advance yourself, but your company.

Take and give constructive feedback
Everyone has an opinion. Knowing your opinion matters is a huge boost to someone’s sense of self-worth. Praising someone else’s work (or their dress, their haircut, etc.) will always get their ear. Listening to their critique of your work can be more difficult. By taking it to heart, you validate not only their opinion, but them. It’s a great way to diffuse office tension. Even if you disagree, sincerely saying “I hear you” or “I’ll think about that”—and meaning it!—will create a better workplace.

Note: There is a difference between emotional feedback and constructive analytical feedback. We once built a website template at an old job and when we presented it to the senior leadership the company owner shouted, “I hate it!” and had nothing more to say. That’s an extreme example of emotional feedback. Constructive feedback would have been about the changes he’d like to see. Are you giving emotional feedback or constructive analytical feedback?

Create a community
While it’s fun to celebrate work anniversaries and milestones, there’s no need to have a party every week. Acknowledge birthdays and other events with a little card or a private message. Your coworkers will appreciate it. Ask how things are going. Suggest after-work drinks. One way to make these things mutually beneficial is to give small plants or flowers. It will brighten your coworker’s day and the whole office.

Another way to create a community in your office is to avoid negativity. There are endless reasons to complain about every job—and almost everyone engages in it. The sad fact is, the more you complain about a job, the worse it seems for everyone. Use that energy instead to find solutions, imagine new directions, and complete your boring tasks better and faster so there’s free time for more engaging duties.

Get better each day
It may seem weird, but one of the most important things you can do to inspire your coworkers is to be inspired yourself. By improving how you do your work and learning new skills, you inspire those around you. Don’t compete against your coworkers; compete against yourself. Can you make fewer mistakes today, move faster, provide better service? Your teammates will notice. Remember, you aren’t showing anyone else up; you’re just meeting and exceeding your personal goals.

Everyone has an opinion. And, we’re all guilty of being pleasant but distant. We robotically ask how things are going with absolutely no intention of hearing an honest answer. Try changing that. It might sound touchy-feely, but everyone wants to be heard. Take a moment to listen, really listen, and watch your coworkers grow more comfortable in their own space.

Are there ways your coworkers positively affect your day? What are some things you appreciate from the people you sit near all day? Find a like-minded community in skills-sharing groups with IAW.

  1. Linda Valentin

    This article about seven positive things to do to create a better office environment was very practical. Good thoughts, good reminders
    Thank you

Comments are closed.

Accessibility Toolbar