Reflecting on Your Role in Workplace Harmony: Unintentional Behaviors That May Be Straining Colleague Relationships
Introduction: In our discussions at Fast Company, we often explore the challenges posed by difficult colleagues and demanding bosses. However, it’s worth pondering whether sometimes, we might be the ones causing friction in the workplace.
Self-Reflection on Communication Styles: Recently, I’ve been contemplating the impact of my communication style, particularly after reading about how different generations interpret emojis. This led me to question whether my frequent thumbs-up emojis in Slack might be perceived differently than intended, despite my genuine intentions.
Similarly, my tendency to interject in discussions, driven by enthusiasm and a desire to contribute, made me wonder if it’s perceived as intrusive or overbearing by my colleagues.
Guidance for Self-Awareness in the Workplace: If you’re concerned about your impact on your colleagues, here are some behaviors to consider and possibly adjust. Being mindful of these can enhance your workplace interactions and relationships.
Minimizing Jargon and Buzzwords: Workplace jargon, though common, can be alienating and is often viewed negatively. Phrases like “circle back” or “synergize” can be off-putting. A good practice is to review your written communications for jargon and replace them with clearer, more direct language.
Mindful Communication: While contributing to discussions is important, it’s equally crucial to ensure that your interjections are constructive and respectful. If you find yourself frequently interrupting or dominating conversations, try to practice active listening and allow conversations to flow more organically.
In virtual meetings, using structured communication methods, such as the “raise hand” feature, can help maintain order and ensure everyone has a chance to speak.
Balancing Confidence with Approachability: Confidence in your abilities is a strength, but it’s important to differentiate it from arrogance. Embrace humility, acknowledge that you don’t have all the answers, and be open to learning from others. Additionally, while sharing and venting with colleagues can be beneficial, be cautious of crossing into negative territory with excessive complaining or gossip.
Embracing Emotional Intelligence: Developing emotional intelligence is key to understanding and managing your impact on others. This includes being aware of your tone, body language, and the words you choose. It’s also about recognizing and respecting the emotions and boundaries of your colleagues.
Conclusion: The journey to self-improvement in the workplace starts with self-awareness. By reflecting on and adjusting your behaviors, you can contribute to a more harmonious and productive work environment. Remember, small changes in your approach can make a significant difference in how you’re perceived and how effectively you collaborate with your team.