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Success at Work : People Skills : Networking

Getting along with your co-workers is critical to your happiness and success at work. You may find yourself spending more time with your co-workers than with your spouse and family. Each individual in an organization is just a small cog in a big wheel. Without the assistance of co-workers, you will find your assignments much more difficult.

The first step toward getting the assistance of your co-workers is to accept others uniqueness and idiosyncrasies. People come from many different national origins, races, genders, and ages. Corporate America calls this "diversity".

You may think an individual with a different race or national origin is peculiar or has strange habits. I find that all people, regardless of race, national origin, gender, or age, want the same things. All people want a safe place to live and employment that gives them the ability to provide for themselves and their family. What a boring world this would be if we all dressed the same, acted the same, and had the same ideas.

If you have an attitude of discrimination against a co-worker because of their national origin, race, gender, or age, I'm not going to try to change your mind. I WILL advise you that if you want to succeed at work, you better at least act like you are on the diversity bandwagon.

The real difficulty in relating to fellow employees comes from differences in emotional maturity, intelligence, and level of dedication to the job. Emotionally immature people may not want to cooperate with you because they feel threatened. They feel that if they help you or reveal any aspect of their job function they may lose job security.

Other symptoms of emotional immaturity are the inability to accept criticism, feeling that the company should do things the way that makes THEIR job the easiest, and just plain bossiness. Other people's emotional maturity is one of the most difficult things to deal with on the job.

It's also difficult to deal with co-workers who don't have, or don't want to have, the intelligence required to do the job. Sometimes people fain ignorance in order to avoid work or responsibility. Sometimes an individual is in a job position that they are not suited for.

Your job may provide your life with meaning and purpose. Professionalism and pride in your work may be important to you. But don't expect everyone to have those same values. Some people are more focused on friends, family, or other preoccupations outside of work. They come to work only for the paycheck. They want to make the least amount of effort required to get the paycheck.

Your happiness and success at work requires you to accept and embrace the uniqueness of other individuals. You need to form good relationships with any co-worker whose cooperation you need in order to perform your tasks. The best way to do that is to care about them. Engage in small talk and learn what their interests are and what motivates them. Approach them with an optimistic attitude, praise, and compliments. People gravitate towards other people who make them feel good.

You must impress upon them that you are not a threat. You will not criticize them, nor threaten their job security. Help them understand that cooperation would be mutually advantageous. Let others in the company compete and vie against one another, while you team up with your co-workers for your mutual success at work.

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