21 Apr Workplace Relationships 101
An internship is an ideal way for a student or recent graduate to gain experience in their desired sector. Not only is it the opportunity to grow professionally, but also personally. However, the key to success in the workplace is maintaining strong workplace relationships and understanding your essential role in your team.
Your internship offer is an indication your company believes in your abilities, strengths and overall fit into their team dynamic. Allow yourself to use this as a booster to your confidence, so when you are faced with a challenging situation you are reminded you have been selected to be there.
One must also be aware of the differences in interactions between yourself and your supervisor versus yourself and your colleagues. It’s important to understand the expectations regarding your performance, so you can maintain clear objectives and positive working relationships.
1- You and Your Boss
Your supervisor will inevitably task you with certain responsibilities or projects which are completely new to you. This is intentional and should be viewed as an opportunity for growth. Furthermore, your supervisor would not assign you a task which is “impossible” or beyond your abilities. An internship is not intended to be easy. Rather than shying away from a challenge, put your best foot forward and embrace it with your full commitment and positivity.
Your “comfort zone” will be challenged and you may take on extra work which you were not expecting. Keep in mind, each new experience in the workplace is a stepping stone in your career. You may not be doing exactly what you want professionally, however your internship will act as a starting point to your next great adventure.
When given the opportunity to discuss your performance with your supervisor, always consider his/her opinion as a constructive means to improve yourself. You may also be surprised by what they consider your biggest strengths! If you have a conflicting viewpoint with your supervisor, take time to rationally collect your thoughts, rather than acting in the heat of the moment.
Above all, refrain from saying you “can not” do something. It is always acceptable to seek guidance or assistance, however flat out denying your ability to complete a task will lose you respect and further opportunity in the workplace.
2- You and Your Team
Being part of a team means you are one essential part of a fully functioning whole. Without you, the team is incomplete and vice-versa. A cooperative and productive team recognizes and feeds on each other’s strengths while also making up for each other’s shortcomings. The benefits of building and sustaining positive relationships among your colleagues are plentiful. You can expect more trust, respect and opportunity, in addition to the satisfaction of pursuing and attaining a common goal as a team.
If you find it difficult to work with or get along with a colleague, it is still important to always remain professional. Said person does not have to be your best friend or confidant, but you must find a way to work together in a positive and productive manner. Not doing so will look extremely unprofessional and immature on your part. Again, dealing with different personalities and communication styles is yet another opportunity to learn and grow.
Finally, always give credit where it is due. If you work collaboratively with a colleague or group, make sure it is known how much your appreciate and admire their work. There is no benefit, aside from instant gratification, that comes from assuming all credit. Revel in your shared effort and accomplishments! Doing so will likely lead to other’s desires to continue working with you.
Want to read another career related blog post? – Check out some previous posts written by students:
Photo credits: Photo by reynermedia, CC-BY-2.0