Q. By nature Im a rather envious person. When I notice co-workers getting advantages I dont, I tend to obsess. I find my co-workers are tight-lipped and often unhelpful. How can I get more support from my work team?
A. Youll get more support from your work team if you do the opposite of what your envy would motivate you to do.
When we are envious, we find it so painful to see anyone getting what we dont have that we give little or no support to our co-workers. Our co-workers will return the favor and have no interest in helping us.
The attitude of envy whispers to us that we should make sure we never open any doors of opportunity for anyone else because well find it painful to watch others thrive. If we never benefit anyone in our workplace, we guarantee long-term pain for ourselves.
The opposite of envy is the attitude that you should always leave people you work with in a better position every time they deal with you.
In every meeting, conversation or phone call, ask yourself what you can offer that would make the other persons job easier. Most people are naturally quite grateful when you help them. You dont have to use any manipulative tool to trick them into supporting you, just that good old-fashioned you fill their bucket, they fill yours.
Your co-workers are motivated to do what they perceive will make their work life better. If you are a consistent source of ideas, resources and referrals, they will need you to do well so you are around to help them.
At first, you may find it nearly physically painful and the opposite of your normal instincts to be helpful to your co-workers. Your team may even view your change of attitude with suspicion.
However, with every conversation youll find it easier to listen for how you can provide a benefit to the person in front of you. As you see your help returned, youll be motivated to be an even better resource to your team.
We often hear in popular psychology that we should listen to our gut instincts, but there are times our gut will lead us astray. You cant be both a force for preventing your co-workers from getting goodies while you get goodies for yourself. The workplace is a big enough space for everyone to win.
The last word(s)
My manager has put someone in charge of an important project who doesnt have the skills to do the job. Should I tell him before there is a problem?
A. No, a moment of personal experience is worth hours of you giving your opinion about future problems.