August 27, 2013
As summer dwindles to a close and thank you cards are left on internship coordinators desks, you’re probably reflecting on the internship experience you had, the portfolio work you gained and challenges faced. One thing is for sure; the people we worked with always leave a lasting impact – good or bad.
At times co-workers can feel like the most difficult part of the job. Every job environment presents the opportunity to work with a “flip-flopper,” “avoider,” or “know-it all.” When tumultuous situations arrive it can be tough finding the best solution. Here are some “what if” situations:
What if I work with a “work hoarder” that doesn’t delegate tasks or assignments?
“First, ask the co-worker if they need help. Express interest in the project,” said Julia Fleming, Assistant Director of Employer Relations for the Career and Leadership Development Center.
For example, if the project deals with creating new marketing approaches for a brand, explain to your co-worker you’re looking to gain portfolio work this summer and would like to take on the project. Be honest and tell them what you’re looking to gain from your internship.
What if I work with a fellow intern that doesn’t communicate?
“Communicate problems tend to happen in large settings with leveled employees,” said Fleming. “Take preventive action by getting to know everyone’s strengths and values.”
This will help you figure out how to use everyone’s assets in teamwork. Making an effort to know your co-workers’ personalities is way to make sure you’re kept in the loop on projects. Again, it’s important to discuss the communication issues with your co-worker on first offensives. If it continues politely address the issue in group discussion. Talking about issues in a group creates a culture of openness and trust. It’s extremely important not to micro-manage.
What if a co-worker takes credit for my work?
“Ask them to reconnect and be direct with your co-worker,” said Fleming. “It’s best to avoid confrontation.”
Open-minded communication is a must for a positive solution. Help them feel a part the team and make sure they feel valued. If they feel valued it’s more likely they will be more open with the group.
If you have more questions concerning “toxic team members” or are seeking career and leadership assistant visit the Career and Leadership Development Center in Baker Center 5th floor.
-Melaina Lewis is a junior studying strategic communications. Keep up with her at @melaina_lewis.