Mills: How you show up for work matters

As new employees we step into an existing work setting; however, we also influence it once we join.

There is a lot of information available about how the work environment affects job satisfaction.

It is often framed as something that is outside of us personally, something over which we have little control. That is simply not accurate.

The atmosphere of any workplace reflects an active combination of how processes and people operate together.

By definition, workplace interactions are dynamic, not static.

Two or more forces are coming together to produce a certain kind of interaction.

Certainly, as new employees we will step into an existing work setting that has its own distinct characteristics already in place, however, we also influence it once we join.

Our particular role is important to a smooth transition but there is much more to it.

The quality of our relationships with colleagues, our boss, and our customers/ clients can make a huge difference to how successfully we fit into the work group.

Of course there will always be people we get along with immediately and others that simply confuse or exasperate us.

I often hear people talking negatively about their co-workers, often blaming certain individuals for causing a poor work atmosphere for everyone else. To me, that is a cop out. Personality clashes are never one-sided events.

Typically those who complain most about someone else play a key part in feeding the dysfunction of the relationship.

When we find ourselves annoyed or offended by a co-worker’s behaviour, it doesn’t help to just ignore it or complain about it to someone else.

Instead we need to ask ourselves, “In what way am I allowing the behaviour to continue and why?”

If we haven’t at least tried to address the situation directly with the other person, our silence makes us complicit in feeding an unhealthy dynamic.

When we get caught up in destructive interpersonal dynamics it takes a toll on our productivity.

The impact is never limited to the individual parties who are at odds either.

Everyone feels the discomfort and that simply isn’t fair.

Workplace dynamics are complicated. The reality is that we are unlikely to be buddies with everyone we work with; we may not even like some of them.

However, we have a responsibility to our employers to behave well at work and to get along with our co-workers.

So, how do you show up for work each day?  Do you convey a pleasant mood and positive attitude? Do you arrive ready to get things done?

Are you helpful and cooperative with your co-workers? Do you consciously practice respectful communication with everyone?

If you can’t honestly answer yes to these questions, it may be time for you to examine how your own behaviour may be contributing to a less than positive work environment.

If you feel improvements are needed, start with yourself first.