There are many viewpoints on what the business environment is or should be like. Some people believe that a cut throat culture is necessary for a company to be competitive. The problem with this mindset is that it often creates a workplace weighted down with office politics, backstabbing, distrust, and even hatred. A cut throat environment can make employees less effective by inhibiting communication, staking time and energy away from the organisation’s mission, and possibly even driving out honest, cooperative and hard-working employees. If such an environment is allowed to take hold, it might perpetuate itself, leaving the management with a dysfunctional team of individuals who cannot work with one another.
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Yet, a manager could use his/her position to impress upon employees that workplace cooperation is encouraged in some or all of the following ways:
- Recognizing common goals – Remind your employees of the organisation’s mission, whether it’s serving clients/customers or making some kind of product. It might seem self-evident, but not everyone recognises or appreciates this. Spell out the mission and tell your employees that if anything seems out of synch with that mission, something is wrong. This should impress upon your team that they need to work together, and that uncooperative behaviour inhibits the greater mission.
- Enthusiasm – Be as enthusiastic about your job as possible. Promote enthusiasm by offering projects about which your employees can get excited. When employees feel passionate about their jobs, they are more likely to do their work with greater ease and attention.
- Availability – Be as available to your employees as you would like them to be to you. Not having their manager available for questions and assistance can get in the way of your employees’ ability to do their jobs. Keep the door to your office open as much as possible, and encourage your employees to contact you.
- Volunteering – Encourage your employees to “pitch-in” and volunteer for projects, rather than waiting to be assigned. Employees are more likely to feel enthusiastic and are able to take ownership of something they’ve chosen for themselves.
- Communicating effectively – Cooperation in workplace is impossible without effective communication, and it’s one of the keys to being a successful manager. If you feel that you’re not getting through to your team, then do what you can to develop better communication skills.
- Constructive suggestions – Always be as constructive as possible in making suggestions to your team, and expect the same from them.
- Attentiveness – Expect your employees to be attentive to your needs, as well as those of other team members and the team as a whole, and reassure them that you’ll be attentive to their needs.
- Humility – Finally, a good dose of humility can help bring people together by acknowledging that you can’t do your job without them, and they can’t do the job alone.
Being a manager is more than just ensuring productivity. It’s also about maintaining an effective workforce – and cooperation in workplace. The successes of you and your employees are interdependent, and your employees should feel that the successes of everyone else on the team are synonymous with their own. Once that mindset is secure, you will have fewer difficulties with your employees because cooperating with and respecting you are in their interest in more ways than simply collecting a paycheck.
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