It is important to stay connected with your colleagues even if they have moved on to different parts of your company or to other companies. You never know when you will be in a position to help a colleague or they will be able to give you career or business advice. It is much easier to have shared benefits if you have both stay connected. Now everyone is busy but if you set yourself a goal to stay in touch twice a year, once by email and once in person, there will be a continuity in the relationship. There will also be a sincere appreciation for your proactiveness and follow-through.
There are important people in your work and personal life and there are people who are not as important to you. You can proactively choose where to spend your time and energy. At the end of the day you are in control of how you spend your time and whom you spend it with. There is a spectrum from having your time be determined for you by accepting meeting invites and invitations you receive to proactively setting up meetings and extending invitations to those that are important to you. For work there is value in creating “People Maps” where you lay out the influential and impactful people to and from you. This can be a helpful tool in helping decide where and with whom to focus your energy.
If someone tells you something in confidence, it needs to stay private. Period. There is no thinking of how you can twist it into something you can pass on. Your colleague has entrusted you with something important and if they ask you not to share, it is critical that you keep that info between the two of you. Why? Because being a confidant and keeping secrets secret is all about your integrity and maintaining a high level of integrity is an imperative.
When collaborating with others on documents, make it easy for your colleagues to incorporate your feedback. The easier you make it, the more likely your input will be utilized. Most online document programs have review options to track changes and add comments. By utilizing mark up features, with the touch of a button the reviewer can easily accept, change or reject your input. By adding comments the reviewer can better understand your point of view and the reason behind your suggestions. These two simple tools can increase the efficiency of your collaboration work with others.
Many times you may think you are the best person for the job and you very well may be. But the best job is not usually completed by one person. Over and over again, I have seen work improved by collaboration with others. Now that isn’t to say it is always the easiest road to completion because it may not be, but the longer path is worth the delay. It is also important to make sure you put yourself in the right mindset to collaborate. If you feel you have brought a finished product to be reviewed, you are less likely to be open to input from others. So in addition to being open to collaboration, it is important to collaborate early enough in the process so it can be impactful.
Admins and Executive Assistants are a integral part of the team. They play an important role within the team and need to be treated with the utmost respect. They know the inner workings of the full team, perhaps better than you do. They can also be the gate keepers. You won’t be successful by going around them or ordering them around. Instead choose to partner with them and it will make everyone’s job a little easier. Appreciate what they do for you on a daily basis and let them know you are grateful for the value they bring.
When you have a win, whether it is big or small, take time to celebrate! You and your colleagues may have met an important milestone, delivered a great presentation, come in under budget on that key project, closed an important deal, published an article, solved a difficult problem, etc. Whatever is the source of good news, you all deserve to hit the pause button, to take a breathe and acknowledge what you have accomplished. More than likely many hours have been put towards achieving this goal and these are the moments that you have worked so hard for. It is rewarding to take time out to reflect on the impact you are having and celebrate before moving on to the next task at hand.
Often peers, colleagues, management comes to you when you are least expecting it and quite frankly come to you at a time when you really have no time for them because you are focusing on what you think matters. However clearly something else matters to them most at the moment. I have found that nine times out of ten it is best to put down what you are working on and give them your time and attention. After they have gotten you up to speed on the latest situation, I have found the best response to be How Can I Help? It gets the point across quickly that you understand that this is an important issue for them, you are saying that you are there to support them and interested in hearing the role they are looking for you to play. They may not always be asking for you to do something, they may have just needed to vent or share the news with someone. If they do need more from you, you don’t always have to say yes to exactly what they are requesting, you can negotiate your involvement from there. But the fact that you are open to hearing what they need, when they need it will be remembered and appreciated.
Lets face it. There are going to be times when things don’t go your way, when others don’t agree with you or don’t align with your way of thinking. There are two sides to every coin and you won’t always be on the same side of the issue as your colleagues. There may be times that your peers are not shy about pointing out these differences. At Microsoft many practice the art of precision questioning. This may seem like you are under attack when it comes from many fronts at once. But instead of getting defensive and negative, it is best to assume good intent and not take anything personally. When someone challenges you and you take the time to really dig in, most of the time you find both of you are working towards what you think is the best solution for the company but there may be different goals, motivations, directives or an incomplete understanding of the facts. What I have found works best is to have a follow-up discussion one on one to try and understand what those differences are so then you can work to find common ground. Assuming good intent helps minimize potential swirl and churn that is simply not productive.