Have you noticed how easy it is to work with some people while others make it very difficult? There are hundreds of little things you can do when working with others to make work easier and ensure you are considered a valuable coworker. Make it easy to work with you and you will make yourself indispensable!
Anticipate Others’ Needs
The number one thing you can do for others is to anticipate their needs by thinking about what they need and trying to provide it. For example: if you have a phone call scheduled with someone, send them a reminder shortly before the call and confirm the calling details. Who will call? Provide your number again so it is available for your caller. Remind the caller of the meeting agenda, length of the call, and other participants. Most people are very busy, going from one commitment to another with little time to prepare in between. When you proactively give your co-worker these reminders you help them prepare and make your call more productive.
Help Others Prepare for Meetings
Be prepared when you are attending meetings and help others prepare. Send pre-read materials early enough for others to review and remind them a few hours before the meeting. Don’t assume everyone has reviewed the materials though. Be prepared to offer a quick overview, highlighting the information you want discussed. Even if an attendee reviewed your materials they may need to be reminded because they have been working on other projects in between. Highlight the issues on which you really need their input. Start and end meetings on time. If you can end early, do it. Giving people back few minutes for them to get to their next meeting is appreciated. Even if you are not the meeting leader, help the group make progress by clarifying issues and keeping the group focused on the agenda.
Facilitate Decision Making
If you need a decision from a manager or executive, provide all relevant facts (pros and cons) in a concise, clear format. Make it easy for the decision maker to decide by clearly stating the problem, options, and most important factors impacting the decision. You can include your recommendation with your rationale if you feel confident about your conclusions. Telling a busy executive: “Here’s what I would do and here’s why …” frees up their time by allowing them to make a quick decision and move onto other work. Again – anticipate what they would want to know. Don’t tell them everything you know or list of all the work you did to reach your recommendation. Provide the most facts which should drive the decision. If the decision maker wants more details, they’ll ask.
Answer Questions Promptly and Clearly
When answering a question or request only provide information which was asked for. TMI (too much information) is annoying and a time waster for your manager or co-worker. It is human nature for us to want to share everything we know so you need to discipline yourself to only provide the information needed. When asked “were you able to find the quarterly sales forecast numbers?” Answer “Yes, $100m for the 4th quarter.” Or answer: “No, Accounting has promised to get it to us tomorrow.” Don’t add “I called Tom in Accounting and he is on vacation until Tuesday so Jill said she would try to find the spreadsheets on their shared drive and get them to me tomorrow. I’ll review them and send them to you as soon as I can, but I do have a doctor’s appointment at 3…” Personal details should never be included unless you have a personal relationship with the requestor. Again, think about your requester’s perspective. They asked a question because they need some information, provide the information and nothing more.
Do What You Say You’ll Do
Do what you say you will do. Nothing makes you more valuable than your reliability, trustworthiness, and integrity. Think carefully about promising to do something and then keep your promises. When people know they can rely on you, they value you.