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It’s Up to You – How to be a Better Colleague

IT outsourcing greatly contributed to a complex world interlinked by complicated interpersonal relationships. And since we spend most of our time at work, being a colleague is a role that needs to be taken seriously.

Being a colleague is not so easy. Being a colleague in the pandemic is even harder. However, it is a role that deserves our attention, because studies show that we spend over 75% a day talking to our colleagues, even for people working in development, like automotive software, enterprise solutions, IoT, or travel software.

Peers in the perfect team

Being a colleague is relative to being part of a team. And great teams are made out of great colleagues. But how do you build the perfect team?

Project Aristotle

In the quest for building the perfect team, Google created the now famous Project Aristotle, which based on data identified the most important ingredients to the perfect team. So, is it individual potential? Is it professionalism? Is it leadership type?

Well, it turns out, the greatest ingredient to a perfect team is the group norm.

A New York Times article described the struggle of the research team to find the pattern that connects high performing teams at Google.

But they managed to identify two behaviors that are essential aspects of psychological safety.

Psychological safety

The first aspect high-performing teams have in common is that they talk roughly the same amount of time taking turns when it comes to conversations. And this is a repetitive behavior that becomes a norm. By contrast, they have also observed that whenever a minority of people from the group take up more talking time, the collective intelligence of the group declines.

The second aspect high-performing teams have in common is intuition. More specifically, the average social sensitivity. The ability to understand the way your colleague is feeling based on subtle non-verbal expressions.

It is important to add that there are other factors as well, like clearly defined goals, but feeling safe in a team is the greatest factor for the success of the team.

Be better at being a colleague

Ideally, when your team is better performing, your results individual results are also better. Plus, what great teams bring to our lives is purpose and confidence.

Purpose and impact, that is strongly related to confidence are the most important motivating factors for modern employees. Especially to those working in software. So, it is clear that being part of such a team has truly fulfilling benefits.

While the norm of a group is not in our power, we do have an essential contribution. You can simply be more open, less judgmental, and more genuinely supportive while having fun. All these will make you a better colleague, which will boost the overall team performance.

A lesson for management

No matter how well-intentioned you as an individual are, norms form based on the majority. Leadership is really in charge since they are responsible for the people they recruit.

The idea that aggressive employees bring the company forward is dead. The reality is that setting up a positive work culture is what really drives productivity, and this is a lesson that many companies are learning the hard way in such a fast-paced world.

Three simple things to remember to be an amazing colleague

So tomorrow when you are lucky enough to go to work try to remember just these three simple things and you can institute a more positive work culture.

  • Be patient with your teammates
  • Be genuine
  • And share meaningfully

Since work is taking up much of our lives, being a colleague is one of the most important relationship roles. It impacts your personal fulfillment and overall happiness. That is why it is so important to try and continuously be a better colleague.