With so many companies still wielding the layoff knife, it’s understandable to want to do everything within our power to try to keep our jobs-even, perhaps, resorting to underhanded measures. But a far better strategy is to treat your co-workers as your clients.



A friend called me the other day to vent her frustrations about her job. She had just started a new position within her company, and one of her co-workers was trying to make her look bad-presumably in an effort to make himself look better.

With so many companies still wielding the layoff knife, it’s understandable to want to do everything within our power to try to keep our jobs-even, perhaps, resorting to underhanded measures. But while such a strategy might fool some people short term, it will eventually backfire.

A better strategy was suggested by Harry Ward in the April edition of hisTechnology Benchmarkcolumn. His advice? Treat your coworkers as your clients, “with customer service being the top priority.”

What a concept! It sounds so simple-and yet, really, it’s contrary to human nature. We expect our teammates to pull their share of the weight, and we get frustrated when they don’t live up to our expectations. We might have personality conflicts with some individuals, or perhaps we harbor resentment over responsibilities or pay levels. And even those co-workers that we consider friends aren’t as important as ourselves. We might put an honest effort into being helpful and working as part of team … but ultimately our focus is typically on gaining recognition for our own performance. That’s the way the world works, and that’s how many successful people get ahead.

We all want to please the boss. But when was the last time you seriously considered how you might be of service to your co-workers? When was the last time you asked someone, “How can I help you do your job better?”

When that spirit of selflessness and true teamwork prevails within a company, everyone wins.


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