Unfortunately, this is often not the case.
The following are common hurdles that I hear of in the workplace.
• Difficulty fitting into the company’s culture
• Not being heard and respected
• Handling the fallout from mistakes you’ve made
• Trying co-workers and interpersonal relationships
• Confusing emails that obstruct communication
• Personal life affecting your work performance
Each of these can happen even when you have the best of intentions. Also, I want to point out that these hurdles can happen outside of the corporate world for example, in your new startup or any situation where you work with a group of people. The dynamics are the same because, let’s admit it, we are all humans with totally different perspectives and ways of doing things, both in life and work.
Here are my thoughts about some of the work hurdles you may be facing, and how to step around it and move on.
When you’re new...
When you are new in a company you will have that learning curve of how to fit into a group that looks difficult to integrate into. Don’t forget there is always resistance to change and by being the new kid on the block it takes time and a lot of effort on your part to meld.
The only method that I use is to be friendly and courteous to all new colleagues and stay out of the gossip or hearsay. Keep in mind, everyone has a right within a group to be heard and respected. Some people think respect needs to be earned, but I take the position that I respect everyone unless proven wrong. Give others the benefit of the doubt…
When you’ve made a mistake…
Handling mistakes is never fun, not for the one making them nor for the one who has to correct it. However, there are ways of behaving in such a manner that you can instantly learn from them and move on. Take the high road and say “mea culpa” before others point out your mistakes. This way you are very open and forthcoming.
When dealing with communication difficulties…
One thing that creates communication problems is that we all believe we are the better communicator than the person across from us.
Slow down and first paint a picture so that others know the direction you are taking with your ideas. Consider that they do not know where your inspiration comes from--they are not in your head.
I have a method that I use all the time when I don’t know if we are both hearing the same thing. First, I let the person finish and then reiterate what I think I heard. That works wonders, even if they are impatient because they will repeat back to me what I did not understand and this prevents misunderstandings.
When dealing with email…
The other factor that can trip us up in the workplace is emails and the written language. We often need to work with people from all over the world, and we need to tailor our words so that we are understood. Again, my method is to work in bullet form, short and concise, that helps the reader understand what you need and the response you are looking for.
And please make the emails short! Nobody has time to sift through hundreds of emails from their coworkers.
When your personal life overlaps with your professional life…
Personal life affects your work life--this happens for everyone. Were you up all night worrying about a friend dying or how to pay your bills? This will affect how you perform the next day. Communicate. Be open and say, “Today, I hope you can have my back. I am a bit out of sorts.” No need to go into the details. But by doing this you have not only communicated but asked for assistance. Try it! It works!
An important lesson I have learned is that people are not for or against you, they just are people like you and me.
The people you work with do not need to be your friends, that is why they are called co-workers or colleagues. But if you can find a middle ground where you learn to take everyone’s assets instead of harping on what cannot be done, you will have a much better work day.
Lastly, be happy! Because there are no mistakes. Life is a trial and error process.