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Building work-life balance into your career

How do your co-workers see you?

By Ann Barrett,

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How do your co-workers see you?If someone asked a colleague about you, what would he or she say? Are you someone they enjoy working with or a complainer to be avoided?

Building relationships with the people we work with is a vital part of achieving goals, learning and development. The way others perceive you in the workplace also has an impact on your career progression. Smart, successful people want to work with other smart, successful people.  Are you one of them? Are people vying to have you on their teams for the next big project? If you’re not doing as well at work as you would like, consider what impression you’re giving your co-workers.

The good news is that you can change the way your co-workers see you. Here are four ways to build a positive persona at work:

1. Focus on the positive

Is your glass half-empty or half-full? Everyone has different work styles, but the way we feel about our work affects the way we approach it. Are you constantly complaining about your workload, your manager or your co-workers? You may start to be pegged as a negative person, and this may isolate you from your colleagues. If you find yourself complaining, turn that frown upside down by focusing on positive aspects of your work. Maybe you have a flexible work arrangement, your manager gives you a lot of autonomy or you’re able to set your own deadlines. With a more positive attitude, you’ll start to make new friends and build new relationships.

2. Support your colleagues

Increasingly, collaboration is the way things get done in Canadian workplaces. As we continue to work together inside and outside our organizations, we have the pleasure of meeting and working with people who often help shape our careers. Frequently it takes the help and guidance of other people for us to accomplish our goals. Think about how it feels when you receive an email or phone call from someone saying something positive about you. Everyone wants to feel appreciated. Has someone you worked with done a good job? Has someone in your network been promoted? If so, congratulate him or her on that success. Acknowledging good work and collaboration not only demonstrates maturity and professionalism, but also fosters good working relationships and creates a fun and positive working environment!

3. Be constructive in meetings

Meetings are a great place to share ideas and offer different perspectives. Pushing back on ideas is part of being diligent in considering all the options. However, rejecting ideas and resisting change without offering any ideas of your own will not classify you as a valuable contributor. Be constructive in your approach. If you don’t think an idea will work, think of a way to make it work, or offer an alternative solution. Innovation requires creativity and open mindedness to new ideas. Don’t be the person who shoots down every idea — you’ll find you’re not invited to the table next time.

4. Invest in building relationships

Make time to meet people in person. Many of us work for the same employer but in different locations, and we’ve become accustomed to emailing or calling in for meetings. Why not make an effort to have some of your meetings in person? Walk over to another building if it is close enough. By meeting in person, you get to know one another, you become more comfortable and develop trust. And when trust is established, more genuine conversations take place.

People want to surround themselves with other positive, upbeat people. You’ll find your improved persona will go a long way when you start contemplating your next career move.

Ann Barrett is a human resources professional at Sun Life Financial.

Working well More bright ideas for managing your career and making the most of your benefits.

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