No matter what kind of work you do, there are some universal do’s and don’ts that apply to every workplace. In short - be curious, engaged, and polite.
Do: Ask questions. Whether you need more training, don’t understand instructions, a process doesn’t make sense, or you are just plain curious, don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions.
Don’t: Be a robot. It’s easy to fall into a routine and just do what you are told. However, try to approach every task with critical thinking and curiosity. Stay engaged and thoughtful, and you’ll be able to spot problems and seize opportunities, benefiting both the company and your career.
Do: Be curious about your co-workers. Learn about their career paths, their interests, and their jobs. The more you learn about and connect with others, the more your network will expand, and the more opportunities will come your way.
Don’t: Spread office gossip. Learning about your colleagues and connecting with them professionally and personally is different than spreading gossip. It doesn’t help anyone to spread rumors, or chat behind co-workers’ backs. Besides, by never engaging in gossip, you just might become the trusted person your colleagues confide in.
Do: Keep a feedback folder, and note any feedback - good or bad - you get from clients, co-workers, or supervisors. This can be invaluable at annual review time. Your positive feedback is proof you are doing well. As for the negative feedback, consider what happened, what you can do to solve the problem, and how you can do things differently next time. Document these steps, and you can then show your boss how you have corrected and improved your performance in response to feedback — a vital skill.
Don’t: Be rude to anyone, at any level, from the janitor to the CEO. How you treat others, whether lower or higher on the ladder, speaks volumes about who you are, and whether people want you on their team.
Many of these do’s and don’ts relate to working with others. We’ll continue this theme next time, as we share four tips for improving your work relationships.