A: Should you be "one of the gang" when you're the supervisor to others?
B: What about the situation with co-workers, people who are peers?
Answer to A and B: Your decision as supervisor to be "one of the gang" with the accounting staff is entirely up to you. Many people go along because they feel that it gives them business and social advantages. With co-workers, it is again your decision. When you want or need to stand up for yourself, it's certainly a heck of a lot easier to do it within your own circle. For most people, it seems "safer" as well.
Getting to Know You
What about building stronger bonds? If you want to form a stronger relationship with office co-workers, or simply get to know them more quickly, you have many strategies. While you can't plan on it, if you ever get stuck in the same space, such as an elevator or a train derailment, having had a common struggle to overcome, you'll get to know them quickly enough. More predictably however, you can engage in any one of the following:
- Just start talking.
- Enroll them in what you're doing.
- Attend the same convention, outing, or task force, and...
- Meet and converse early on the first day of that event.
- Communicate honestly from the outset.
- Convey more interest in them than in yourself.
- Touch them emotionally.
- Find a common cause.
- Share a mutual deadline.
To Befriend or Not to Befriend
Much has been written on networking as a strategy for career advancement. There are few people I can think of offhand with whom I "network" on a regular basis who are not my friends or whom I'm at least friendly with. It's probably the same for you. Networking works best when true elements of friendship are involved.
Among a boatload of strategies for upping your friendship quotient with your co-workers, here are several, some of which may be right for you:
- Correspond by email.
- Support their cause.
- Serve as a sounding board.
- Tell the truth.
- Convey gladness to hear from them.
- Share a common need.
- Mutually admire something about each other.
- Work through a crisis together.
- Remember their birthdays and surprise them!
About the author:
Jeff Davidson, The Work-Life Balance Expert®, is founder of the Breathing Space Institute in Raleigh, North Carolina. He wrote Breathing Space and Simpler Living, recorded 92 audio programs, and created 24 iPhone apps. Visit: www.breathingspace.com.