Creating fruitful working relationships are a big part of inter-office networking. These connections go beyond friendship and rely heavily on trust and respect. Getting to the level of a close work acquaintance needs to go beyond doing favors for one another. Just like when you leave a meeting you want to feel confident, or like you’re on a mission. The same should go for a casual conversation with your co-workers, or a working strategy meeting with one or two key figures. What you need to be cognizant of during these exchanges is your sincerity, and how that’s being portrayed.
In assisting others around the work floor there are several motivators that may turn someone from being helpful to over the top friendly. Workplace politics can play a big role in changing someone’s demeanor toward their colleagues, for example. Another reason can be that the targeted employee has valuable skills that are in high demand and their time is limited. It’s no secret that we try to expedite tasks for those we like, so it doesn’t hurt to back the niceties with some sincerity. So when does a new project turn from a simple request into a hidden agenda without the chance of a developing internal partnership? There are some subtle clues you can pick up if you’re interested in a transparent relationship with your colleagues.
When your co-worker is playing on a hidden agenda they might:
- come to you for one-off tasks and never follow-up with results
- only come to you when they need something
- not have the time to return a favor when you ask for their expertise or resources
While sincerity may be veiled by other drivers it can be easy to detect if you’re looking at the right signs. For example, if your co-worker is looking for a sincere working relationship they will:
- give credit where it’s due; without being prodded to do so
- make time to follow-up on projects you’ve worked on and look for opportunities to maximize both of your talent areas
- not gossip unnecessarily; if they’re saying damaging things about one colleague that may be untrue you may question if they’re doing the same with you
If you’re currently experiencing a hidden agenda don’t let that detour you from working with that individual. Instead just be more aware of what you’re sharing and really listen to what they’re saying. Stay open minded while you’re at work, because it is possible for people to change. You won’t want to be shut out of some unique opportunities because of one or two poor experiences. By taking the high road and accomplishing the task at hand you’re showing that you have some integrity, and that you’re motivated to making a difficult relationship work. Remember also to give off a sincere impression in order to get that in return. Transparency is more valued than you think, even when you’re in a cutthroat industry. Don’t lose your desire to be an authentic co-worker that others can rely on.