Careers

Where are you in the work family?

Knowing where you slot in with your circle of colleagues doesn’t just build better relationships in the workplace: it can also help you nail a promotion and even live 20 years longer…

Nothing cheers up a Monday morning like a weekend post-mortem with your work pals; Fridays wouldn’t be the same without after-work drinks; and who’d get through the working day without the 3pm tea and chocolate break?

There’s no denying the office without our work friends would be a far duller place – but did you know just how important getting along with your colleagues actually is?

Recent studies say your work family can not only help you cope with stress and bag your dream job, they can also add an extra 20 years to your life! Find out which one of these work personalities applies to you, and how you can use that info to get the most out of your working relationships.

The Mentor

This is you if… you’re always on hand with advice or to thrash out an idea with more junior members of staff.

Your colleagues love you cos… you support them. By far the best way to earn respect from employees is to respect them, which you do. By taking an interest in the career development of your team, you also have their trust.

The best way to get ahead is… to use your team’s skills wisely. A study from Tel Aviv University found that women in positions of power with no support network were more likely to die earlier than their counterparts who worked with the support of their team. Take help when you need it and you could add 20 years to your life.

Just don’t… overdo it on the hand-holding. And stay professional (skip the Post-it notes with the kisses).

The Networker

This is you if… you can work a room, palm pressing like you’re Mrs Obama. You never leave a work function without a stack of new business cards.

Your colleagues love you cos… they admire your ambition. You seem to have the secret to bagging a coveted promotion or scoring a pay rise. A study from North Carolina State University found that skilled networkers are more likely to get a new job through informal recruitment than a formal job search.

The best way to get ahead is… through meeting the right people. Steve McDonald, author of the study, reckons women’s lack of networking prowess is what’s causing the gender wage gap. But as you clearly know how to work your contacts, you’re much more likely to bump up your pay packet. Result!

Just don’t… let people ride on your coattails too much. Sure, you can make introductions that allow others to meet key players, but then it’s up to them.

The Go-Getter

This is you if… you’re always first to volunteer for tasks, whether it’s getting coffee or heading up a new project.

Your colleagues love you cos… you really are indispensable. A recent study found those who are helpful in the workplace are less likely to experience psychological distress and bullying.

The best way to get ahead is… to make friends in high places. Once the boss recognises you as the sort of person who gets things done, you’ll move up the office ranks quickly.

Just don’t… suck up to management. It’d be easy for jealous peeps to mistake political-savvy for sycophantism.

The Cheerleader

This is you if… you’re on the bottom rungs of the career ladder, but you’re a crucial cog in the office team. You are great for brainstorming ideas, you rally around colleagues when a big deadline is looming, and you’re happy to work late to help colleagues out.

Your colleagues love you cos… you’re always in a good mood and your chirpiness is infectious. Not even the sight of your bulging in-tray can wipe the smile off your face.

The best way to get ahead is… to make your presence known. If you’ve stayed late to help a colleague out with a project, be sure you get credit for it.

Just don’t… let other people abuse their power. Your willingness to help out makes you an easy target for users, so be wary. Also, you have a tendency to be a touch too perky. No one would blame you if you had an off day.

The Gossip Girl

This is you if... you’re always there with a Tim Tam and a sympathetic ear when someone in the office needs to let off steam. Whether it’s because a boss stole credit for their idea or the office loudmouth lit their fuse with another sexist remark, when a colleague needs a rant, you’re the sounding board.

Your colleagues love you cos… you help them to de-stress. Research from the University of California says that gossip can be therapeutic, as it
can help people who feel wronged get rid of their frustration.

The best way to get ahead is… listening. You never know what tidbits of useful intel you could pick up at the water cooler. Like that internal vacancy that just opened up in marketing…

Just don’t… engage in malicious gossip. If someone feels wronged let them vent, but don’t dish out dirt: it’ll backfire.