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The Art of Being an Admirable Colleague

In an average year, you spend more of your waking hours with your coworkers than you do with almost anyone (or anything) else, from your significant other to your family, your friends, or your cat, dog or hermit crab. (Don’t laugh, hermit crabs are quite popular.)

That’s a lot of time to spend with the same people. That’s why building strong, positive relationships with them is vital – not only to fostering good teamwork and creating a healthy work-life balance – but to avoiding frustrations and keeping the peace. Here are some of the best ways for you to be the colleague everyone admires – and thinks of as a leader.

  1. Be appreciative and show acknowledgement

When people feel unappreciated in the workplace, it becomes difficult for them to see the benefit in going the extra mile. If there’s no one around to applaud their hard work, they’ll have little desire to continue. That’s where an admirable colleague comes in. Whether you’re a teammate or a manager, giving credit where credit is due is the heart and soul of motivation. Whether it’s a verbal thank you, champagne in the conference room, or a simple email, it makes the recipient feel valued.

  1. Be ever so humble

Humility isn’t about being passive or self-effacing. On the contrary, expressing humility shows that you have a clear perspective and that you’re self-aware – which is actually a sign of emotional intelligence. In the work environment, your ability to recognize your own limitations can make it easier for you to build meaningful relationships with your coworkers. Humility is the trait that enables you to ask others for their input. It shows your colleagues that you’re open to their ideas, that you’re listening, and that you are sincerely interested in what they can bring to the table.

  1. Set the standard

Actions speak louder than words, and great colleagues are first to take the lead. They don’t make false promises or try to be the center of attention. They simply get things done. These are the people who raise the bar in the office for performance and productivity… and they’re great role models. Your work ethic can play a role in defining the culture for your organization. When you set the standard high enough, you leave behind an indelible impact.

  1. Admit it when you’re wrong

The people coworkers respect the most aren’t afraid to take risks. You should be bold enough to challenge the status quo to better the organization and improve your team’s productivity. The other side of this admirable quality is the ability to admit when you’ve made a mistake. Great colleagues don’t hesitate to make difficult decisions and lead by example. They gravitate towards what many view as a “leap of faith” and willingly accept the challenge – knowing very well that the odds may not be in their favor. Take that leap. It’s worth the risk.

  1. Have your coworkers’ backs

The worst kind of colleague is the spotlight addict who wants all of the credit. You know the type: they never bother to acknowledge their colleagues’ contributions. To be a good colleague, you have to understand and appreciate the unique ways in which your fellow workers think, act and innovate – and always be on the lookout to enable their talent. These are the people who are trusted, admired, and respected the most because they make workplace life as much about the advancement of others as about themselves. They share the value and goodwill they build with others in their circle for the enrichment of the company as a whole. This is the colleague you want to be.


Checklist for becoming the most-admired colleague at work

  • Be effective and deliver innovative results
  • Be trustworthy: know how to keep secrets
  • Display initiative and enthusiasm
  • Be knowledgeable… and share your knowledge
  • Meet deadlines and be organized
  • Have enough empathy to offer a shoulder to cry on
  • Show leadership – and comradeship as well
  • Work hard – but play hard too

About the author

Sophie Huss is the Global Director of Talent Acquisition & Training at Arkadin HQ in Paris. She has many years of in-depth experience in strategic and operational Marketing & HR in international environments. Fond of new technologies and digital transformation, Sophie uses her strong competences in digital marketing and lead generation to drive Human Resources (HR) to the digital world. In Digital Recruitment, that means employer branding, lead generation techniques applied to talent acquisition, central in-house talent acquisition organization, hiring processes, and deploying new HR Internal Systems, such as an Applicant Tracking System. For Learning & Development, it means developing onboarding and learning paths by job families, and deploying a Learning Management System (LMS) and global training programs. Building the Digital Workplace around the three pillars of Lifestyle, Workspace, and Tech Services is central to her philosophy, in order to transform and streamline Arkadin’s candidate and employee experience and lifecycle.

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