Getting Along with Co-Workers

Mike Dandridge

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IN a shopping mall, I recently passed by someone wearing a T-shirt that had the words, “DOESN’T PLAY WELL WITH OTHERS” in three-inch block letters across the front. I thought it was funny. But, when you have a coworker who seems to have those words tattooed across his forehead, it’s no laughing matter.

Lee Iacocca said, “The statement, ‘He’s good, but he has trouble getting along with other people, ’ is the kiss of death for management potential. The major reason capable people fail to advance is that they don’t work well with their colleagues and customers. ”

It really comes down to having a love for people and the ability to show others that you care for their well-being. That means getting along with your coworkers as well as your customers. Why? Because your coworkers are your customers, too.

Say what?

That’s right. Even though your coworkers probably don’t buy anything from you, they are still your customers—what the business books call, internal customers. Because each individual at a company has the ability to contribute or to take away from the success of the organization, it is important to your success that everyone does an excellent job of customer service. Your coworkers are actually an indirect link between you and the external customer. So, it is important to treat your work associates in the same manner that you treat your customers.

I know what you're thinking: Yeah, but you just don’t understand. You don’t know the people I have to work with. Is it my fault if my coworker is a jerk?

No, it’s not your fault if your coworker is a jerk, but there’s always something you can do to influence the performance of others. Understand the intercon-nection between you and every other employee in your company. How well you deal with difficult coworkers will reflect in how well you deal with difficult customers. It is the overall performance of the company that determines its success. Therefore, your fellow employees have an effect on your livelihood.

“Employee satisfaction equals customer satisfaction at UPS, ” says Kent Nelson, former UPS CEO. The smart companies, the customer-focused companies know this. These companies have figured out that keeping employees happy is the key to keeping customers happy.

TURNAROUND TIP: Most bosses still operate from the old mindset, “My employees know if I don’t say anything critical about their performance, then that means they’re doing a good job. If I compliment an employee all the time, it’ll just give him a big head. ” If you have a boss like that then you know that the only encouragement your coworkers receive will have to come from you or others who are like you.

1. Make sure that you treat your coworkers in the same way you treat your customers; with courtesy, concern and compassion.

2. Catch someone doing something right. Re-search says that nothing motivates employees more than peer recognition. When you see a coworker going out of their way to serve a customer, offer some enthusiastic encourage-ment.

3. Exceed the expectations of your coworkers. If your boss needs a report on Tuesday, give it to him Monday afternoon. (Yes, your boss is an internal customer, too). If the credit department needs some information that you have access to, rather than arguing with them over whose job it is, provide the information for them.

If you make a commitment to assist your coworkers and colleagues, they will be eager to assist you when you need their help. Anyone who helps you get your job done contributes to your success.

Mike Dandridge Mike is the founder of High Voltage Performance, a consulting firm that specializes in designing customer experiences for the industrial marketplace. He is a keynote speaker and a seminar leader with 25 years experience in electrical wholesale distribution. Dandridge is author of, The One Year Business Turnaround, a book based on his years in wholesale, containing a year’s worth of ideas for improving your customer service. You may reach Mike at 254-624-6299. Visit his Website at Subscribe to his blog at


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