Reading: / Multiple Choice Type Question (MCQ) / Part 1

Getting along in the workplace - basic guidelines

Don’t escalate problems up to your manager. 

Of course you must keep your manager informed if delays, mistakes or problems occur, but don’t just present the problem - also offer a solution. This approach ensures that your manager is able to see that you are able to problem solve and that you can be very useful in helping them with their workload. Mistakes happen and things do not always go to plan in a work situation. If this occurs, don’t automatically try to blame others. It is much better to look for an opportunity to take responsibility for the issue at hand and how to make the situation better, even if it is not directly your fault.  Arrange a face to face discussion with your manager to explain the situation and take full responsibility.   Keep the communication to your manager short and do not provide excuses but do offer solutions and ways in which the same mistake can be avoided in the future.

Use face to face meetings or the telephone to communicate bad news or criticism.

Never communicate negative opinions or bad news using e-mail or voicemail.  It is worthwhile to spend the time picking up the phone or setting up a face to face meeting.   However, using email to communicate good news or praise for a job well done is a great idea as these kinds of messages can then be easily forwarded to other parties to spread the positive information and sense of achievement. If you receive an e-mail with negative opinions from another person, or if you are copied on an e-mail debate where negative opinions are shared, never "reply to all" to continue the discussion.  It is much more productive for personal relationships to call the person directly and arrange to set up a face to face meeting for the parties involved.

Make sure that you re-direct credit and thanks to others who deserve it.

When a project is completed, send an e-mail to all the people who were involved and helped to achieve success – make sure that you include all relevant management in the email. General content of the email should include an announcement that the project was completed successfully and include particular thanks to the people who made it happen. This is a useful strategy to get management to see you as a leader and to build relationships with your colleagues.

Take time for social interaction in the workplace

While of course you must demonstrate ability and competency in the workplace, do not underestimate the importance of being able to get along socially with your colleagues and managers. Having people alongside you who see you in a positive light and support you personally is vital to success and happiness in your job. You can be the most competent person in the office but are unlikely to get ahead if managers do not like you or feel you create friction within the team. You can encourage good relations by making time for social events – drinks or meals after work to welcome new colleagues, stopping for a short break to celebrate someone’s birthday, the birth of a child, and success at passing a qualification at night school. From time to time you could even surprise your co-workers with a food treat. Put out snacks on your desk and invite co-workers and managers to stop by and have a quick break. Small kindnesses can go a long way!

Questions 1 and 2

Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D.

Write your answers in boxes 1 and 2 on your answer sheet.

  1. If errors occur in the workplace, it is recommended to:
    1. Hold a face to face meeting with the person responsible
    2. Give a detailed explanation of the problem to the manager
    3. See the manager face to face and suggest a resolution.
    4. Communicate the problem to all involved by email

2.  Email is a useful tool for:

    1. Keeping all parties informed of all developments in the workplace
    2. Arranging face to face meeting
    3. Allowing other people to pass on positive information
    4. Communicating with employees when issues occur.