Why Making Your Coworker's Job Easier is Important
If your colleague is preparing a pitch for a company you researched last year, do you offer her your notes and resources? If a co-worker is struggling with an assignment, do you offer your help? If a colleague is racing to meet a hard deadline, do you bring him coffee and lunch so he can keep going?
If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions, then you’re already behaving in a way that can help your career. If you’re serious about making it to the next level, one of the best things you can do is make your co-workers’ jobs easier.
Helping your co-workers has a number of benefits. First, it will help your entire team perform better, which reflects well on you. If you possess skills or knowledge that a colleague doesn’t yet have, contributing them can save time and enhance the quality of the produced work. Second, your co-workers are more likely to help you out when you need information or support. This can help you broaden your knowledge and enhance your performance.
Finally, it can make you more noticeable to your supervisor. By demonstrating team spirit and volunteering your assistance, you’re showcasing your qualities and capabilities. This in turn can result in more career opportunities ranging from high-profile projects to leadership positions.
Tips on making your co-workers’ jobs easier
Making your co-workers’ jobs easier isn’t about doing their work for them or telling them how to perform their duties. It’s first and foremost about making sure you’re reliable; then it’s about offering whatever assistance you can. Keep the following tips in mind:
- Be consistently reliable. As Caroline Smith points out in her MindTools article “How to Be a Good Team Player – Maximizing Your Contribution,” the single best thing you can do to help your co-workers is to perform your own duties well and follow through on what you’ve promised. Nobody will benefit if you’re helping others but neglecting your responsibilities. If, in contrast, you consistently deliver good work and keep your promises, your colleagues will know they can rely on you.
- Offer assistance with time-consuming but simple tasks. If you have time to spare, offer to take on a colleague’s time-consuming but relatively simple tasks. Whether it’s organizing files or creating mailing lists, helping out can free up your colleague to do more complicated work.
- Offer resources. In some cases, you might have research or resources that can help a colleague. For example, you might have a report that can help a colleague who’s preparing a presentation, or you could have a contact who can shed light on an important industry development. Offering these types of resources can add significant value to your colleagues’ work.
- Offer your knowledge and opinion. Whether it’s providing more information about a topic or voicing your opinion about a project, your colleagues can benefit from your insights. For example, if a team member is researching the viability of expanding a service into a new market of which you have expert knowledge, you could contribute suggestions as to how to appeal to this new demographic.
- Be considerate. Sometimes helping colleagues isn’t about contributing work, but more about supporting them. If someone’s pressed for time, offer to help out by doing a coffee run or taking his or her calls for the afternoon.
There are many more ways in which you can make your colleagues’ jobs easier—just think of what kind of assistance you would welcome if you were in their roles. Remember: always make sure to fulfill your professional responsibilities to the best of your abilities while helping colleagues meet theirs!