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Play Nice in The Corporate Sandbox

 

The corporate sandbox can be a place of harmonic productivity if we mind our manners. But if people don’t play nice, it can get nasty real quick.

Image of a corporate sandbox

Ever heard of the corporate sandbox?  Ever seen employees at play in the corporate sandbox?  I have.  Some play nice.  Some throw sand at others.  Some try to grab the pail and shovel away from others.  Some kick others in the shins for doing so.  Some just sit on the side lines watching.  Some see what’s going, make a u-turn and head for the swing set.

What’s going on?  I mean really…

Here are some helpful tips for learning to play well together in the corporate sandbox.  Most of us learned these things in kindergarten.  Why do some of us stop practicing what really amounts to just plain, simple, good old-fashioned manners?

  1.  Be nice.  Be nice to each other.  Be professional, friendly and courteous.
    Don’t sling sand at each other, and don’t sling gossip around about each other. Don’t complain about each other or about work, while at work.  If you have a serious gripe or complaint, follow the company’s procedure and get it addressed.  Otherwise, your gripe or complaint amounts to nothing more than a bad attitude. Just because misery loves company doesn’t mean you should sacrifice your professionalism by bringing negative attitudes to work and trying to spread that negativity to others. Even if you don’t like someone you should treat that person with dignity and respect. This is a work place, not a wrestling arena.
  2. Greet each other.
    Say hi, good morning, hello…don’t ignore your workmates…when you leave at night or at the end of your shift, say bye, have a nice weekend, etc.  You get it right?  Acknowledge and wish each other well.
  3. Don’t put others ideas down.
    When you’re in a meeting, or having a brain-storming session, just because you don’t like someone’s idea doesn’t mean you should say, “that’s a terrible idea” or “that will never work”…unless your intent is to ensure that others don’t speak up. Even if you are a supervisor or manager, rule number one in meetings is to allow others to participate when asked, then just listen.  Don’t throw your arms up, stomp out, huff and puff, and don’t scream at your workmates…that’s just unacceptable.
  4. Follow-up when you’ve agreed to follow up.
    A status report voluntary given is so much more appreciated than one given only when asked countless times.  You’ve agreed to accomplish some task, so do so.  If you can’t, let the other person know right away.
  5. Communicate.  Don’t pout.  Don’t gossip.  Don’t complain.  Communicate.
    Be professional and courteous in your communications whether via email, phone, or face to face.  And respect the other person’s or people’s time.  Try to get to the point. There is a way of being direct without being rude. You don’t have to be brutal to be direct.  Direct simply means saying what’s on your mind.  You can say what is on your mind in a professional manner, or you can say it in a brutal, rude manner.  You’re at work…choose the former…choose to be professional.
  6. Know when to be a team member.
    There are times when we all must work alone, take initiative, and get things done.  There are other times when we must work as part of a team.  Teamwork doesn’t necessarily mean one person dictates to the others.  Teamwork also means everyone gets a share of the workload and has their own piece of the pie so to speak.  Think of a busy kitchen in a busy restaurant.  You have a head chef calling out the orders.  You have a team of chefs preparing the orders:  perhaps one chef on meats and fish, one on appetizers, one on sides, one on salads.  The chefs on appetizers and salads generally have to coordinate together first so that patrons all receive their salads and appetizers at the same time.  Chefs working on the meat station must coordinate with chefs on the sides station so that potatoes are ready at the same time the steak is ready, so that the veal picatta is ready at the same time the carrots are ready and so that both meals are ready at the same time so the customers at the same table can eat at the same time.  That is teamwork.  Lots of coordination, no egos, just people working in unison on their own part of the project to bring it all together when expected and as due.
  7. Welcome new comers.
    When new employees join the company, don’t band together in little cliques like the old timers…greet the new comers, make them feel welcome as part of the team.  Say hi.  Communicate.  Ask how you can help them assimilate into their new job and their new environment.  Help each other.

Image of a child playing in a sandboxThe Corporate Sandbox should not be a place where sand is strewn about.  It should be a place where employees charged with building castles get to build them; where employees charged with keeping the pails and shovels in good order get to keep them in good order; where employees help each other if they see someone struggling.  Perhaps the sand isn’t quite damp enough to hold together…so go get some water.

The workplace is not a sandbox of two year olds.  It is where we spend most of our time, doing very serious work, creatively and intelligently…so let’s enjoy each other’s company. Let’s be professional, friendly and courteous.

Let’s practice those good manners we learned in kindergarten.  Please.  Thank you.  You’re welcome.

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