Back to basics
by Michele Majul-Ibarra, IPMA-ACP
When I think of back-to-school, I think of my own experiences as a child and how I have come to a realization that much of the things I learned back then have actually enabled me to transfer into the workplace some of the lessons I learned as a child. One piece of advice that has really struck a chord with me was a lesson taught by my own parents, which was to treat others the same way I want to be treated.
According to a survey by Career Builder.ca, 77 per cent of workers have experienced some sort of childish behaviour from their co-workers. Roy Cohen, a career coach reports that the survey findings are not surprising. Nowadays, employees work longer hours and sometimes when this happens, they blow off some steam. In addition, Career Builder also finds that complaining seems to be the most immature behaviour with 55 per cent of the survey respondents agreeing to having encountered this in the workplace. With regards to “pouting,” which is another type of juvenile behaviour, it has been witnessed by 46 per cent of the respondents. Other forms of behaviour that were reported in the survey by about a third of the respondents include starting rumours, playing pranks, making faces and forming cliques.
Reflecting on these findings, there appears to be a very significant correlation between our foundation from childhood and how we behave towards others at work. If we look at it this way, we know that the home environment is a unit. This unit could very well function in the same way as our work environment. The key that aligns the two environments is values. The values that we learn from childhood influence our behaviour towards others in different types of situations. These behaviours are repeated especially when we know how effective they have been for us. These behaviours therefore eventually transform into habits.
By definition habits are “settled or regular tendencies or practice, especially those that are hard to give up.” Through adulthood, these habits get embedded into our daily routines and can dictate how we respond to situations in the workplace. Unfortunately, there are some people who carry childish behaviours with them to work.
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This is basic rule number one children are taught at home and at school. How might this childhood rule apply to you today? It simply means people have to be treated the way you want to be treated. If you do not want to feel offended, simply do not cause pain in others.
Sharing is caring. This is another popular basic rule taught to children. In the workplace sharing is just as important. It can be as simple as sharing an idea with another team member to help them with a task or allowing yourself to collaborate on a project to reach a common goal.
Play nice in the sandbox. Respect is something that must be viewed as a two-way street. As adults, we have the responsibility to play fair. If there is an issue with a co-worker, the expectation of the employer is that employees work out those issues on their own before it escalates to management.
Our success in the workplace depends very much on our ability to get along effectively with others; and by going back to basics, we can ensure that our risk of offending others can be mitigated as well.
This article is intended for information purposes only and not to be considered as professional advice.
Michele Majul-Ibarra, IPMA-CP is a Certified HR Professional through the International Personnel Management Association. She graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology and a Certificate in Human Resource Management. She also holds the C.I.M. professional designation (Certified in Management). E-mail her at email@example.com.