What’s your personal philosophy regarding work?

Do you make deposits in-- or withdrawals from-- colleagues’ emotional accounts?

“She won’t even say ‘Good morning’” an employee told me recently, when referring to a colleague with whom she works on a daily basis. “And when I go to her with a question, she acts like I’m a huge interruption in her day.”


Employees who make emotional withdrawals from their coworkers suck the energy from the workplace. Work takes longer because their colleagues avoid them, resentment and retaliation build and conflicts flare. Over time, the emotional accounts of their coworkers become overdrawn and they will no longer extend any credit.


“Deposits” can be a friendly attitude, willingness to help, or active attention when a coworker just needs someone to listen. It doesn’t take much extra time but it certainly pays back plenty of dividends.


Do you add value or are you a “pair of hands”?

On a recent cab ride, I was wowed by the amount of value the cab driver delivered. He offered a newspaper, pointed out some sights of interest and suggested some great restaurants near my destination. All of this was done while getting from point A to point B quickly and pleasantly. Maybe I was so pleasantly surprised because I’ve learned not to expect much from cab drivers.


The same is true at work. Some people are just a pair of hands. They just do what’s asked of them—no more, no less—and then wonder why all the “lucky breaks” go to someone else.


Their value-adding coworkers don’t view their work that way. They try to anticipate problems and do what they can to solve them. They’re easy to work with and quick to spot ways to make life easier for those around them. They’re the ones who do a little extra while getting from point A to point B. They are also the ones to get noticed and promoted to point C.


Do you think “Us and Them” or “Us versus Them”?

You’ve probably seen it somewhere in your workplace. An employee has a long list of gripes about Them. The Them might be management, the department across the hall or even the customers. The offending “Thems” don’t get the benefit of the doubt—they are to blame for mistakes and misunderstandings, while the disgruntled member of “Us” remains blameless and above reproach. The finger pointing creates bitterness and retaliation.


Employees who have an Us and Them mentality invite participation from all stakeholders. They reach out instead of resist. They look for ways to solve problems and break down walls. They think blame is wasted energy.


Do you reach for more responsibility or wait to be noticed?

“When something needs to be done, he doesn’t wait to be told—he just does it,” a manager explained. She was describing the reason one of her employees was such a star. “I wish some of my other employees realized that they have to raise their own visibility. They are good at what they do but never raise their hand for new responsibilities or step outside of their job descriptions. They are in their own boxes.”


Some people think, “I’ll do more when they pay me more.” Unfortunately, they will have a long wait. You get promoted when you are ready—which is obvious when you are already doing parts of the next job on the ladder.


Are you working for the good of the organization or for your own good?

Interestingly, when you make decisions for the good of the organization, it usually comes back to benefit you. Selfless acts such as sharing credit with your team and doing the right thing, even if it inconveniences you, get noticed and rewarded.


On the contrary, people who selfishly guard their turf or ruthlessly grab for glory are usually exposed and their careers stall or derail. They may be able to fool people for awhile but eventually it catches up to them. 

Joan Lloyd is a Milwaukee based executive coach and organizational & leadership development strategist. She is known for her ability to help leaders and their teams achieve measurable, lasting improvements. Joan Lloyd & Associates, specializes in leadership development, organizational change and teambuilding, providing: executive coaching, CEO coaching & leader team coaching, 360-degree feedback processes, retreat facilitation and presentation skill coaching and small group labs. Contact Joan Lloyd & Associates at (414) 573-1616, mailto:info@joanlloyd.com, or www.JoanLloyd.com 
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