THERE is no magic about being happy in work, but there are certain standards of behaviour to assist in creating an environment that is more conducive to happiness, personal success and career progression.

It is “attitude, not aptitude that determines altitude” in life and career. Employees can only enjoy work by adopting a professional approach in all they do and by striving for professionalism in every aspect of the job and in their dealings with others. This entails having self-respect, respect for fellow workers, respect for the company, respect for clients and respect for the quality of the work they do. Take away respect and there is nothing left. Employees may have all the skills in the world, but without respect that expertise is worth nothing.

It is the responsibility of management to lead and direct employees to ensure their development, but it is the responsibility of the employee to be a willing worker, a willing learner and a responsible and enthusiastic person. Employees must be prepared to allow others to mould them, while employers must be willing to do the moulding by training and developing employees.

It is important for employees to understand their role in the company, to know where they fit in while learning about the core business of the company. That way they can strive for excellence and accept responsibility for their own career. Below is an exercise you might like to have your employees complete. Ask your employees to think about their current position in the company by considering the following:

  • Why do you go to work each day?
  • What does your work and responsibilities at work mean to you?
  • What is the most exciting aspect of your job?
  • If you could change anything you currently do, what would it be?
  • What are your current ambitions?
  • What can you contribute to the success of your company?
  • What have you contributed so far?

After they have considered these questions, get them to complete the following exercise:

  • Consider your present position. Would you say you are performing as well as you should be?
  • List all of your personal strengths and weaknesses.
  • How do your strengths assist you and how do your weaknesses hold you back?
  • What can you change, why would you change it and do you want to change?
  • Draw up a written personal development plan to assist in making you perform better to ensure that you will be a good role model for others.

To progress and excel in their careers, it is imperative that employees get to know themselves and how they relate and interact with others. Having said that, working with and interacting with others will lead to differences of opinion and even conflict. It is how they deal with such conflict that reveals the sort of person they are.

Conflict can be destructive or constructive. Encourage others not to shy away from conflict, but rather embrace it, learn from it and use it as a building block to self-development. Conflict is an opportunity to express a point of view and above all it is an opportunity to listen and learn from others. Being a member of a team, employees can only be effective if they can interact constructively with others.

As the saying goes, “No man is an island.” It is impossible to work in any environment without interacting with others.

Des Squire is a managing member at AMSI and Associates. Contact des@amsiandassociates.co.za.

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