How Do You Get to Know Your Co-Workers?

It goes without saying that we spend the majority of our waking hours at work.  To be your best and bring out the best in others at work you need to get to know them.  Not just as job titles, where they sit in the building, their role, but rather who they are as individuals, what is unique about them, what motivates them, what they are passionate about, what you have in common.

Opening yourself up to getting to know your co-workers only enhances your engagement, satisfaction and, ultimately, productivity.  All of these are key ingredients to having a successful career.

Every employee should have responsibility for their own engagement.  Every manager should have as a top priority the engagement of their respective teams.  Keep in mind, employees don’t leave companies, they more often than not leave managers.

Recognizing that everyone wants to be treated the way they uniquely want to be treated – requires listening and getting to know who you spend the majority of your waking hours with.  Everyone has their own Ladder of Inference, unique behavioral tendancies (DISC), and personalities that create pieces of them as unique individuals.

To communicate effectively, to proactively manage oneself, to live a truly intentional life – you must be aware of your surroundings, embrace the uniqueness of your co-workers and see your efforts payoff in heightened engagement and productivity.

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SIGMA’s Culture: 20 Questions

We have a few fun tools that we use at SIGMA that help facilitate dialogue and getting to know co-workers.  One tool is the 20-question boards.  We ask employees to complete the fun “Getting to know your co-workers” survey and then post it in a visible, high-traffic area of our building.  This sparks conversation and has been quite effective in encouraging employees to communicate and truly get to know each other.

So, my challenge for you is to stop and think about your co-workers:  Did you ask them about their weekend?  Do you know what their hobbies and interests are?  Do they feel comfortable sharing who they are with you?

Remember we do not have a work self and then a home self – we are one individual.  The more we can embrace that holistically and not force people to truncate who they are when they walk through the office door, the more benefits we reap – better communication, increased engagement, higher productivity.

A few quotes to noodle:

“I’m a great believer that any tool that enhances communication has profound effects in terms of how people can learn from each other, and how they can achieve the kind of freedoms that they’re interested in.”  – Bill Gates

“We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.”  – Epictetus

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” – George Bernard Shaw

“Communication works for those who work at it.” – John Powell

Author: Gidgett Ingalls is Vice President of Strategic Planning and Human Resources at SIGMA Marketing Group, a marketing analytics agency.  Connect with Gidgett on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter.

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