You probably know you need your co-workers if you want to get anything done at work. But you probably also take your coworkers for granted.
I think a default position for many is to assume that – as long as you have a good idea – your coworkers are obligated to help you achieve it. After all, they’re working for the company, right? Of course they have to.
It’s frustrating when you realize that this entitled approach simply doesn’t work.
It takes time to realize that our coworkers have their own interests. They have their own unique information and perspective on what’s needed in the business. They have their own ideas about what it takes to move the company’s interests forward. And none of them really have to help you.
In reality, your relationship to your coworkers is really not that different from your relationship to your clients.
You have to provide value. You have to communicate and sell your ideas effectively. You have to build relationships, trust, and social capital. All of these things are essential in a business relationship outside of your company. So why would you not do the same things inside?
Your coworkers are the people who make your company possible in the first place. You should spend more time doing sales, customer service, and marketing them than you do for any external clients.
Say “thank you” to your coworkers. Do favors for them. Build relationships of trust with them. Back them up when they need support. Give them credit, and give them opportunities to shine. Capture their imaginations. Clearly communicate (“sell”) the value of any idea you have which will need their help. Clearly communicate the value any such project ends up creating. Be transparent.
In short, do unto your coworkers what you would have your company do unto clients. If you do that, your coworkers will be far more likely to help you get things done when the need comes.