In this difficult economic environment it is more important than ever to learn how to get along in and thrive in your workplace environment.
While at times a very challenging task, it is possible for you to not only create a more pleasant and supportive working environment for yourself, but also to hone skills that will be of service to you in your life outside of work.
First of all, it may be a good idea to clarify a few points about the workplace which tend get overlooked or become blurred with the passage of time. First of all, it is important to keep in mind that this is your job and not your home. It’s easy enough for the distinction to become lost, if for no other reason than it seems you spend more time in the former than the latter. The people you work with are your co-workers, and although there is certainly nothing wrong with having friendly relationships with them, it is important to keep in mind they are co-workers first and friends second. You are being paid to perform certain tasks in a prescribed fashion, time and place. While this may sound somewhat cold, it is important that we accept these bottom line considerations in order to be firmly based in reality as we move forward with our formulations.
Now, let’s say, for example, that you feel un- or under-appreciated for the work you do. This is a problem in two separate and distinct ways. First, you feel hurt, angry and resentful that your efforts seem to go unnoticed by your supervisor(s) and co-workers. Feeling this way lowers one’s morale and makes it difficult to do one’s best on the job. But a second and largely under-appreciated condition also arises: you feel frustrated and powerless to do anything about the situation. You sense that going to your supervisor(s) and complaining is only going to paint you in a worse light, so you seek compensation by engaging in unproductive measures such as complaining to your cronies and your spouse about it or merely suffering in silence. It’s like having a stone in your shoe. What to do, what to do?
Keep in mind that what I’m going to suggest next is not some magic formula for getting people to conform to your every desire or somehow otherwise come out on top of a given situation. My modest, though powerful goal is to take a subjectively experienced bad situation and make it better.
Staying with our example, you could sit down and decide to secretly improve the workplace environment in the area of appreciation, all by yourself. Without fanfare or making a fuss, you could go around once a day and say something to somebody that praises or encourages them for some positive or constructive action they performed, Hey, I liked the way you handled that irate customer or Thanks for doing such a good job on that report I needed. If need be, you could just compliment them on their hairstyle, jewelry or how well they parallel park.
Everybody likes to be complimented when they have done something well (as you well know) and receiving that compliment makes them feel better about themselves. It encourages them in the direction of doing more of the same in the future. And, as people tend to like or view favorably those who help make them feel good about themselves, your stock gets a boost. You can be the agent that injects this shot of positivity into your workplace environment.
There are at least two good reasons for you to undertake this role. First, you are introducing a positive attitude to the environment, and, by so doing are removing the certain level of toxicity you were previously feeding into it by complaining and feeling sore. The second and even more important reason is that you are breaking up the sense of despair and hopelessness that previously influenced your attitudes, moods, thinking and behavior. No longer do you have to suffer from feeling incapable of having a positive impact on your surroundings. That helpless, hopeless feeling, when unaddressed, will slowly deaden you, quickly spreading into other aspects of your life and is a key precursor of depression. Rid yourself of that sense of hopelessness and all sorts of happy ramifications will begin to present themselves.
Now it’s important for me to remind you that this type of technique should not be taken on with the goal of personal aggrandizement or for changing the entire world in one fell swoop. The modest idea is to make a bad situation better and the secret lies with focusing more concern on the welfare and wellbeing of others rather than focusing too closely on yourself. You lift yourself by first lifting others. In seeking to make the workplace environment better for yourself, you have to focus on making it better for everyone. It means trusting that what you need and want will eventually flow back to you. It’s a leap but you can make it!
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For further information on getting along in the workplace or coping with workplace bullying, click on the links below: