You must have frequently heard the phrase “we are a family”. Companies desire to create a warm family environment for the happiness and motivation of their employees. There is indeed an atmosphere as such in small scale companies with a small number of employees. The boss is acquainted with all the employees and their families and shares their worries and concerns. There is friendship and intimacy among coworkers similar to that of siblings. Coworkers socialize outside of work.
As the company grows, longtime employees reminisce about the warm family environment. They discuss past friendships with new coworkers and complain. In time, employees become less acquainted with each other. Instead of acting as a whole, groups start to form. A sense of belonging weakens. Gossip increases. New employees that have no knowledge about the company’s culture start to arrive. Corporate memory is lost. The end result is unhappy and lonely employees who feel that they are not understood.
Your company might also be dealing with such issues. It’s normal not to be familiar with hundreds of employees from different levels. Superior-subordinate relationships might be more on a formal level, with an increase in groupings. Meetings that don’t exceed ordinary, cold work relationships, experts that don’t even share information with each other, departments that are disconnected in the eyes of the client… In addition, clashes among coworkers who don’t understand or misunderstand each other, people that cross the line, workplace gossip, unfounded rumors, and non-compliant behavior in the workplace are some of the communication issues that companies might face. Another issue is disrespect. Disrespect to individual rights and freedoms, difference of opinion, work that is done, experience, knowledge, subordinates, superiors, in short, any type of disrespect imaginable.
When we use the phrase ‘we are a family’ we mean it. Even if the company has grown, it’s still a family. A family that spends eight or nine hours a day together. We spend more time with each other than we do with our children, spouses, parents. We work together, we live together. We work together to move the company forward and achieve more success. Everyone, from top to bottom is a part of the wheel of this big machine. Every single task is important for the healthy running of this machine. No task is too small. If everyone does their share of work, this will help others to complete their work more easily and accurately. The only way to achieve success is to work as a whole. At the end of the day, no matter how hard you work or how successful you are as an individual (or as a team), the failure of the company is your failure as well.
We must abide by the rules since we live together. There are similar rules for a workplace just as there are rules in life. In my opinion the ten golden rules, each as important as the other, are:
1. Show respect to all employees, whether your subordinate, your superior or equal in rank. Respect their work as well as their identity and personal rights. Be aware of your boundaries and that we are all individuals with differences in feelings, ideas and rights and wrongs.
2. Share your ideas but refrain from being biased or prejudiced. Remember that others also have ideas and they are just as valuable as yours. Don't cross boundaries while defending your ideas, listen to others. If you are not of the same opinion, ask for the opinion of others or agree with the majority. Embrace, defend and strive to materialize the ideas that have been agreed upon even if you disagree.
3. It is nice to be friendly, using greetings frequently such as, good morning, hello, have a nice day, good evening, good luck and to show concern about their private life as much as that person allows, however being nosey, being too casual, making inappropriate jokes, sticking your nose into others business; in fact, talking about your private life when uncalled for is unacceptable.
4. Everyone has a duty and will try to perform their duties to the fullest but sometimes these duties might be more than they can handle. Helping each other is essential when working together. It is inhuman to be indifferent and refuse to help thinking it is not your job. Helping each other will improve friendships and increase efficiency.
5. Avoid behaviors that prevent others from working especially in co-working environments (such as open offices). Being careful to speak in a low voice when on the phone, using headphones while listening to music, avoiding actions that might distract others, using break areas when taking a break, avoiding shouting from desk to desk and instead going to their desk will create a peaceful work environment.
6. Avoid gossiping. Be careful when sharing information with others even if you believe you have the exact and correct information, pay attention to whether the information is confidential, private, and whether or not it concerns the people you share it with. Avoid sharing if it’s one of the above. Don't forget that if you gossip about others they will also gossip about you. Don't spread unrealistic, partial and unfounded information. Confirm the validity of the information firsthand. Only pass on what you know to the person involved; don’t make any interpretations, add any comments or exaggerate anything.
7. Not everyone is obliged to like you, just as you are not obliged to like everyone. What really matters is respect. If you want others to respect you, you must respect others. It's necessary to behave respectfully and follow the rules of working together even if you do not care for the other person.
8. A ‘no’ is a no. If you do not approve of a behavior, express it clearly. Draw your boundaries. Respect others’ boundaries. Don't cross the line. Apologize when you make a mistake but avoid making the same mistake again. Be understanding of unintentional, nonrepetitive mistakes.
9. Don't treat colleagues that you socialize with differently than the ones you don’t socialize with. Treat your subordinates equally especially if you hold a managerial position. Don't favor anyone.
10. Try to familiarize yourself with newcomers, share the corporate memory and the culture of the company with them, be sincere but don’t be too casual, let them express themselves, be humble not arrogant, teach them the rules of the company, share your business knowledge and experience, don’t exclude, scold, mock or belittle them.
We are a family. We are all different. Our outlook, thoughts, feelings, beliefs, worldviews are all different. Our goals are different. Our personalities are different. Our common denominator is the company we work for. We all strive to make our company more successful. We work together and live together. Let's follow the rules of working together to work peacefully for many years to come. Let's do our jobs with respect, love and understanding. Happiness can only be achieved through this.