When was the last time you worked completely alone, with no one to help you? Unless you’re an impoverished artist starving in a garret somewhere, the answer’s probably “never.” No matter what our career tracks or work disciplines, nearly all of us depend on other people to help and back us up. Even people who work far afield, like explorers and archaeologists, tend to work in groups or depend on a support team back home. Those of us who work in white-collar jobs rarely work alone. Even if you telecommute, you still belong to a team.
As such, you and your coworkers will inevitably experience friction, whether you serve as team leader or team member. Perhaps you feel frustrated right now by several of the people on the team. If you just seem to get along, and you experience more than your fair share of conflict, you might want to consider the possibility you may be the problem. Your team members may not flat-out tell you they have issues with you, especially if you supervise their work, but there may be several things they wish you knew but aren’t sharing.
I suspect I could write a 10,000+ word article worthy of the Harvard Business Review titled “100 Things Your Coworkers Wish You Knew,” because Western business culture tends to be too polite for its own good these days. Old-fashioned, painfully honest “Dutch Uncles” have become rare—possibly because they fear litigation if they speak too frankly. So I start with the top five issues your coworkers wish you knew:
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