How easy are you to work with?
Just the other day, one of my colleagues shared a quote on LinkedIn which stated that being easy to work with, is an underrated employee quality. I could not agree more. It is an overlooked and underestimated quality until you must share a space with a “difficult” colleague. One difficult colleague can be detrimental to the company culture as a whole, and they might even end up losing exceptional employees because of it.
So, let us examine what makes an individual “easy” or “difficult” to work with.
There is a fine line between being a people pleaser and simply knowing which issues are worthy of addressing and which issues are not. For me, the rule of thumb about addressing issues is always to have potential solutions or suggestions for the issues I want to address or practices I think need to be changed. If you cannot provide alternative solutions, there probably is a reason why these systems are in place, even if it does not fully resonate with you.
The other reason you should look into solutions before complaining is that you can be sure that you have analysed the issue from a few angles instead of only the “this does not work for me” angle. The recipient of the complaint or suggestion will be much more open to change if you go the extra mile to provide alternative solutions rather than just pitch issues and problems.
Being “easy to work with” is not just a one-fold topic about complaining or not complaining, but also about your willingness to help, having good communication skills, a positive attitude, being open to suggestions and change, and just overall pleasantness to be around. Another aspect easily overlooked when talking about being easy to work with is whether you do your part and contribute positively to the work that needs to be done. You can be the office clown and be very pleasant to be around, but if your colleagues constantly have to cover for you or do the work you are supposed to do, that becomes a problem.
There will always be conflict where a lot of people need to work together (trust me, I know, I’m the youngest of four children), but how that conflict is dealt with will be the difference between constructive conflict, where the team grows and learns, or deconstructive conflict where the team is divided, and issues are left unresolved.
My grandmother always said, “You can be easy to be around or difficult, and the choice is always yours”.