It’s Complicated!

Workplace dynamics can be complicated. Think about it for a moment– people come in to their place of work 5 to 6 days out of the week for 8 to 12 hours each day and are thrust amongst other people who have different religious beliefs, different personalities, different family structures, different ideas, different cultures and so on. Based on these differences, it may be a mystery how most workplaces function with minimal to no disruption based on employee to employee discord. Or is it? The reason this should not be a mystery is because most individuals, as basic human beings, understand that we are to meet each other with mutual dignity and respect. That respect should cross over, if not tolerate, individual differences at least while at work.

Today’s workforce is primarily comprised of individuals who make up Gen X, Gen Y, Gen Z and soon to be Gen Alpha by 2029. With each of these generations the progressive nature which has embodied change management within organizations has often fostered individual expression; an environment of free-flowing ideas, and; the perceived right to express those ideas. But at the core of this expression, it may have been lost that it is still required that mutual respect, professionalism and courtesy is shown towards peers and co-workers as to not violate Company policies regarding harassment and discrimination or simply to not purposefully offend a basic right or principle of another person.

2017 is here and it is up to employees and employers to take on the challenges of the new year with fresh eyes, a broad mindset and accountability. Accountability is key – here are some tips on how to be more accountable in the workplace and own individual actions when dealing with peers and co-workers:

1. Own Your Actions
Whether participating in a group activity, project or handling something on your own, when all is said and done, own whatever you are personally responsible for. Want to take it a step further? If you manage a team and something is brought to your attention about a mistake or failure, own that too on behalf of your team! An accountable peer, co-worker or boss is refreshing and respectable!

If something that you have said or done, offends another person or causes them to be upset, before responding, take time to self-reflect before re-engaging with that person. You may determine that you could have gone about the situation differently or chosen better words!

2. Solicit Feedback From Others
If there are chronic challenges with how others are reacting to your written and verbal communications or if there is a sense of being misunderstood, solicit feedback from your peers and co-workers. Finding another person who is familiar with you, but not biased (so don’t ask your best work buddy!) may be the perfect way to get informative feedback on how you are “coming off” in meetings or brainstorming sessions. If you manage other people and truly want their feedback, send an anonymous survey through a web-hosted survey provider or ask your HR representative if your Company subscribes to an online assessment tool.

Remember, if you ask for feedback you may get it! Be open to the responses and committed to changing any negative attributes.

3. Be Responsible
Managing daily tasks and responding to clients, peers and more can be challenging, and sometimes overwhelming. Own your commitments and be responsible for the work you take on. Use the tools provided to you to assist in managing your daily task list or calendar. Set auto-reminders and task lists updates to stay organized, efficient and responsive. A responsible employee is a valued employee! Just as important is an employee that knows his or her limits. As challenges arise or as the work begins to pile up, communication with your work group or supervisor to inform of any inability to complete tasks on time, is always necessary and will be appreciated.