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Boost Teamwork and Morale by Valuing Diversity in the Workplace

by Fernan Cepero

Most teams contain a wide variety of personalities. These differences among team members can sometimes lead to conflicts that harm morale. If you ever have trouble keeping your cool with others, consider these points:

  • You don't have to be best buddies to work together. Although you  might not pencil in some people on your social calendar, you can have perfectly productive working relationships with them.
  • You may have a few faults too. Remind yourself that no one's perfect. There may be things about you that bug them too, but you still expect to be treated politely and respectfully, don't you?
  • You have more in common than you think. You may have your share of differences, but you also share something very significant: a stake in the success of your team and your company. So look at your colleagues as allies in your quest to achieve important goals.
  • You may not realize it, but your co-workers are your teammates, not your competitors. You are all working to achieve the same goal--the success of the company. Here's how you can create a spirit of teamwork in the workplace. 
  • Offer your assistance. If you have any spare time, ask whether one of your co-workers has anything he or she would like you to do. The favor may be returned one day when you're in a crunch.
  • Clearly communicate your needs. Let your co-workers know what you're working on. This might be an occasion when you need help. If so, don't be afraid to ask. Co-workers do not necessarily know you need help.
  • Develop a dialogue with your co-workers. Work together to anticipate busy times, obstacles you might encounter, and goals you want to reach.  Together, you can make your day go more smoothly.
  • Make suggestions. Don't be afraid to flag potential problems or share your ideas with your supervisor when you think it will add to a smooth-running operation.
  • Be receptive to help. Have a positive attitude when co-workers pitch in to help you. People won't think you're incompetent if you need help.  Everyone needs help from time to time.
  • Be sensitive to special circumstances. Recognize that physical or emotional upheavals, such as personal illness or tragedy, can hamper a co-worker's productivity. When someone is having a tough time, pitch in and take up the slack.
  • Assist new employees. Work as a team to help get new employees through some of the tasks they don't understand. And don't restrict your activities to your department alone. Help in other departments as well.
  • Practice straight talk. Be honest. If you feel as though there is miscommunication or there are problems between you and a co-worker, get together in a private location and talk about it. Maybe what you are thinking is not what the other person meant at all.

Morale stays high when everyone works together and gets along. With teamwork, everyone profits.

About the Author: Fernan R. Cepero, Vice President of Human Resources YMCA of Greater Rochester Rochester, NY, has over 10 years experience in Human Resources. He is president of the Genesee Valley Chapter and a member of The Workforce Diversity Network