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3 Concrete Ways to Be a Better Co-worker

Published 8/22/2016

In today's episode, we talk about 3 simple, concrete ways you can be a better coworker, starting today.

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Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
Hey everyone, I'm Malcolm2 Developer Tea. Happy Monday. Today I'm going to be giving you a very quick episode. It's three concrete things you can do today to be a better co-worker. In today's episode, I'm going to jump directly into our content and give you three things you can do to be a better co-worker. Our best investments are in the form of our relationships. If you're not a developer, please continue listening. This episode has nothing to do specifically with development. Please continue listening. Of course, developers, they deal with other people who are not developers every single day in most common scenarios, most offices where developers work, whether that's an agency or a startup or perhaps a freelance. Maybe you're even in a co-working space. That is also a position where you can develop relationships with those around you. If we can harness a small percentage of our intentionality every day. If we can harness even 5% of our energy and redirect it from our computers into the people around us, we will see returns for years into the future and perhaps echoing throughout our entire careers. So how can you be a better co-worker today? I told you today's episode is very short. We're going to jump straight into number one. That is quite simply get cleaning. Get clean. No, I'm not talking about dropping a drug habit, though hopefully you know, that's probably not going to go too far in bettering your career anyway. Instead, I simply want you to clean the area around you. If you work in a small office, your desk is kind of like your signature. It's there when you're gone and it's there when you are present. So the way you leave your desk will influence the way people see you. If they look at your desk, they're going to think about you and when they think about you, they're going to look at your desk. This is kind of common sense, right? This doesn't mean you remove everything from your desk every single day. It doesn't mean that you have to actually scrub down your desk every single day and polish the wood on the top of the desk. But rather that you have to have a consistent appearance of your workspace and that things are relatively organized and they don't feel cluttered. This simple move can go a long way in gaining the respect of your coworkers. I'm not telling you to not have a personalized desk. For example, if you have a collection of small toys that you like to show off, then you can leave those on your desk and that's perfectly fine. In fact, people may attach to the personalization that you show. But what you do need to do is ensure that your desk is clean. Very simple, very practical and concrete examples are removing old cups or food containers from your desk. I know this seems really reductive, but there's a lot of things that you can do that are at that simple of a level that can increase the way that people see you. This is kind of the appearance that people have of you at work. Of course, you have heard the quote, dress for the job that you want. But if you're dressing for the job that you want and your desk looks like somebody's desk whose job that you don't want, then you have a conflict. So make sure you get clean. Number two, ask a good question. Ask a good question. We are definitely going to have an episode about this in the near future about asking better questions and about the importance of asking good questions. But conversation is an art form. Creating good conversation is absolutely not an easy task. And it causes anxiety for a lot of people who feel inadequate in professional social interactions. Today, I want to help you by giving you a very simple tip in creating decent conversation. I want you to try something very simple. I want you to ask one of your co-workers a good question. Now, here's an example of a somewhat boring, not very good question. Hey, how's it going today? This is really obviously simple, right? It's a question that you can ask anyone. Now, here's an example of a good question. I have a coworker named Matt. Here's a question I can ask Matt. Hey, Matt, I know you are a cyclist and you're looking for races in the local area. Have you found any races yet? I heard a friend of mine talking about a race the other day. If you're interested, I can connect you to. The first question was kind of a waste of time, right? We don't want to talk about how we are because 10 people or 20 people ask us that per day. It's not a particularly valuable question to me. But the second one actually recognizes that you have an interest in the person you are talking to. People know when you are faking, so you can't feign an interest in that person. You have to actually talk about things that you're interested in for that person. And if you don't have something good to say, then don't say anything at all, but you may frame your questions about a project that the person is working on that you're interested in, or about something you know about them. Of course, don't pry too deeply into their personal lives that can come across as intrusive, but you can increase the quality of your relationship with other people by simply letting them know that you care about the details. And you do that by asking a good question. This gives that person a chance to talk about the things that they are truly interested in. Number three, make the coffee or the tea. Make the coffee or the tea. Most offices have simple things that everyone shares in. Simple tasks that anyone can do. Whether that's turning the air on on a hot morning, taking out the trash or cleaning out the fridge from the night before, or making the coffee for everyone to share. Of course, you can also heat up the tea pot. These kinds of simple actions, though they seem like basic chores, they relieve other people from having to do them. The simple act of service, whatever it is, not only gives other people the freedom to get directly into their work, but it also shows that you're ultimately willing to go out of your way to be kind to another person. The concept of leadership is fundamentally connected to the concept of serventhood. And if you can serve other people well, then you can lead other people well. By performing simple tasks like making the coffee, you develop a trust and appreciation with that person. So number one, get clean. Number two, ask a good question. And number three, make the coffee. These are three concrete ways. You can become a better coworker. Thank you so much for listening to today's episode of Developer Tea. If you liked today's three tips, make sure you subscribe to Developer Tea for more information and hopefully help for you in your future career. That is the goal of spec to help designers and developers level up in their careers. Go and check out the other shows and the other awesome information on spec.fm. Thank you so much for listening. Make sure you subscribe and until next time, enjoy your tea.