What’s your ideal workplace? A cosy enclave where the air conditioning is just right? Where the refreshing morning sunlight streams in through the windows? Co-workers? No. You call them your friends, your confidants, your accountability partners, the people you turn to with your joys and sorrows.
More often than not, the truth hurts. For many of us, we have gradually come to terms with the disappointing fact that an idealistic workplace just does not exist and that people are often… just not as pleasant as we would like them to be.
Feel like you’re heading to war every morning? Here’s the armour you need.
1. Take up your Shield – The Power of Saying No
Being a ‘yes’ man comes with its benefits. It provides opportunities to demonstrate your capabilities, earn brownie points and heighten your standing. However, being eager to please may lead others to take advantage of you, and might even set you on a downward spiral to burnout.
Learning to say no can be a liberating experience. Remember – quality over quantity. No one likes a superior who takes on too much for the whole team to tackle, leading to an unending pile of work and a overtime streak that drags those under him along. Equally frowned upon are subordinates who help too many people to the extent that their core job and duties are neglected. Knowing how not to take on more than you can handle is a skill in itself.
What should you do instead? Learn the art of delegation. While having a know-it-all responsibility-hoarder boss may mean less work for those under him, it may reach a point where his underlings just stop caring. Be that nurturing boss who values those under his charge and provides opportunities for growth.
Feel like you or your teammates need help? Ask for it.
Feel that someone else is better-suited to handle the task? Say so.
2. Put on your helmet – Discern the Right Times to Let Loose
Feel like you have lost the respect of your peers? Your teammates no longer listen to you? While you may not always be at fault, take a minute to reflect on how you have carried yourself.
Had a lull period in the office? Joked around with your co-workers? While letting loose and exchanging light hearted banter with your colleagues may endear yourself to them, too much of a good thing is never advantageous. Gaining a reputation as the workplace fool or turning into the butt of office jokes may signal that you are heading in the wrong direction.
Knowing your audience is key. Joking with the wrong group of people may cause you to lose respect among your peers. Especially when you are in a position of leadership. Learn to discern the right times to keep a straight face and when to let down your guard. You want to be certain that you can still be taken seriously when it comes to crunch time.
3. Fasten your Breastplate – Guard your Hearts & Know your Worth
Feel undervalued? Don’t let your self-esteem take a hit. It affects your mood, and thus your productivity.
Shed the nagging feeling that you have to constantly prove yourself. Heave a sigh of relief as the boulder rolls right off your shoulders, and you dash, unchained and rejuvenated (don’t do this in the office).
You are special. Don’t let your job define you, or let your self-worth take a blow. The judging stares from your coworkers and superiors never mattered anyway.
Navigating the convoluted world of office politics will never be easy. What matters is learning to strike the right balance and be comfortable in your own shoes. Put on an air of confidence. Let your genuinity shine through. Effect change, break down barriers and overcome challenges, one smile at a time.
For more tips and career hacks, coming each week.
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