We spend most of our waking hours at work — or on our way commuting to and from work.  In fact, we usually spend most of our day interacting more with our co-workers than with our friends and families.    This means that in order to get certain things done, we need to know how to exert our personal influence on our colleagues.  While this does not mean that we need to have a lot of official power per se, we do need to understand the many different personalities that we must contend with on a daily basis. To make our valuable time on the job more effective, it makes economic sense that employers and employees alike try to recognize how they can better connect with one another to make the work day smoother and the work output more efficient.


Here are a few qualities that can help you achieve this goal:

  • Professional Objectives:  Sharing your aspirations helps others understand where you are coming from and where you are trying to go in your career.  You may be surprised to find that a particular sales manager does not intend to continue climbing the corporate ladder to become a regional director, but rather wishes to branch out into a different area or industry altogether.
  • Cultural Background:  Learning where your co-workers come from both ethnically and culturally can provide you with a good idea of how they were brought up and what they expect.  For example, some cultures do not necessarily encourage eye contact since it is viewed as disrespectful, while others thrive on it as a sign of respect.
  • Leisure Activities:   Getting to know the hobbies and sports that your co-workers participate in can be of great value for putting things in terms that they can better visualize and comprehend.
  • Personal Hardships:  Understanding the obstacles that some co-workers may have undergone in their personal life can help you appeal to their sensitivities, or even guide you in steering away from some offhand office humor that could be viewed as offensive.

Even though only one of these areas listed above directly relates back to “work”, these all provide a foundation for helping us to understand each other’s personalities and get along with one another.  When our co-workers learn a little about what makes us tick, we can leverage this to influence certain decisions and outcomes.  In the end, all of this can greatly impact what we can accomplish together during our extended workday.

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