In today’s edition of Happier At Work, I want to talk about why you should help your colleagues. Our jobs can get so full on that we sometimes forget to breathe and look around. Chances are, you are part of a team and you should remember that when you start your working day.
Now I am not advocating that you spend your day helping everyone else! You have a job to do and that should be your priority. But maybe, helping your colleagues can help you too.
Why you should help your colleagues
To create a more supportive work environment
By helping your colleagues, you are contributing to the creation of a supportive work environment. If it is the norm that people help each other out, this atmosphere will be felt straight from the recruitment process and will attract people who want to work in this kind of environment.
It will create a workplace where it is nice to come to work, where you know you can count on your team members, where you know you can ask dumb questions and not get shut down for it.
The success of your team is your success
If the team does well, its reputation within the company will grow, and this will reflect well on all team members. This will attract more internal applications when positions in your team open and will help you should you want to apply for a different role in the company.
To develop leadership skills
By supporting your colleagues, you are showing that you are ready to lead your own team. After all, supporting and developing your colleagues is half the role of a team leader, right?
If you want to apply for a team leader position, but do not have any managerial experience, you can gain some of the skills required by supporting and developing your less experienced team members.
To support the health of the team
This one is going to sound very selfish, but have you ever worked in a team that was severely under-resourced? This has happened to me a couple of times over the years. You join a full team and suddenly, half the team resigns (totally unrelated to me joining by the way!!).
The issue in this situation is that you end up with half a team trying to cover the work of a full team. And this is when people start getting sick, burn-out or go on stress leave, which makes things even worst for the ones still working!
This scenario is obviously a little extreme, but it isn’t rare.
By creating a supportive environment, people will be less likely to go off sick for stress. And if the team loses a team member, the rest of the team supports each other even more to hold the fort until a new recruit is found.
I love this Ted Talk on what makes people happy at work. It will link everything I’ve just said back together.
How you can help your colleagues in a way that helps you too
Welcome the new starters
Make time to properly welcome the new starters. Share with them practical things that will help them make a good impression straight away.
I personally have a new starter checklist to remind myself of the key points to share every time someone new joins the team.
If you don’t know what to share, go back to when you joined. What did you wish you were told? What took you forever to work out for yourself that could have been accelerated by a colleague?
Make time for your new colleagues’ questions in the first few months and check on them regularly to make sure they don’t need anything. The faster they are up to speed the better for the entire team.
On a different note, people will remember that you were being helpful when they started. This is a great way to build a healthy relationship with a new co-worker. For more on building your network at work, click here to read 7 Unbeatable Ways To Build Your Network Within Your Workplace.
Share good practice
Is one of your team members working on a problem that you have solved in the past? Share your solution and help them solve their issue faster.
Have you worked on something that you could turn into guidance for the rest of the team? We re-invent the wheel all the time when we would perform so much better as a team by setting time aside to share knowledge, solutions and best practice.
Knowledge should be shared, not hoarded.
4 Undeniable reasons why you should help your colleagues – key take-aways
- Create an environment where people want to work
- your team’s success is your success
- Develop your leadership skills
- Support the health of the team
- Welcome new starters
- Share your knowledge
Try these simple hacks and let me know how you get on
Do you have other tips on how to help your colleagues without creating too much work for yourself? What works well for you? I’d love to hear your stories. Let me know in the comments.
The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology that Fuel Success and Performance at Work by Shawn Achor
This article is part of the series Happier At Work, which you can find here.