Post Academic


Networking Within the Office

Posted in Transfer Your Skills by Caroline Roberts on November 27, 2010
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PhotobucketIf you are a supervisor or in a more powerful position, one of the best ways to fight bullying and assholism is to get more people involved in group activities. No, I don’t mean those cringe-inducing corporate retreats in which people engage in exercises that just make everyone look awkward. But you can work hard to make sure people feel like they have a say in how an office or a department is run.

When people feel left out, problems result. They may be as minor as gossip or bickering or as major as people refusing to do their jobs. The truth is that people need to keep networking within the workplace so they can build teams. Knowing that some people in your office have your back can come in handy. I’m pretty sure it can also protect against departmental strife. Many workplace conflicts arise not because people disagree over a project but because they disagree over personalities. The only way to keep personality conflicts from hampering your job is to make the effort to get to know and understand each other. Here’s how:

Hold meetings. Yeah, yeah. I don’t like meetings, either. But meetings also bring the team together so people can be reminded of each other’s existence. It’s a whole lot harder to ignore someone’s existence if you have to look them in the eye once a week during a status meeting. Of course, that means one of you needs to figure out how to hold an effective meeting, and that’s another story altogether …

More after the jump! Playful image of a social network by Koreshky from Wikimedia Commons, public domain.

Reach out. Some people are loners and don’t like being bugged. Or they are too busy to have fun. But asking “How are you?” isn’t pushing it and–the important thing–reminds that person that both of you actually exist. When someone new on the team arrives, start up a conversation. Remembering someone’s name can go a lot farther than you think it would.

Talk up the achievements of others. If someone does a good job, tell them, and spread the word. They’ll appreciate the publicity and might return the favor. You don’t have to be a kiss-ass. Just be sure to give credit where credit is due.

These acts are easy to forget. As someone who works with a computer all day, it’s easy to become part of the borg and forget that other people are nearby. But it feels good when someone reminds me that I’m human, and I’m way more inclined to help them out if they ever need it.

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One Response to 'Networking Within the Office'

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  1. Sounds like you’d be a kick-ass boss, Caroline! As something of a loner myself, I appreciate people who can acknowledge your existence without turning into annoyingly peppy cheerleaders. That’s a difficult balance to reach.


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