Chapter 7 COMMUNICATING WITH COWORKERS AND SUPERVISORS
Fitting In and Getting Along
Good human relations skills improve communication,
increase productivity, and make the work environment
You will not be successful if you cannot fit in and get along
When workplace relationships are positive, even heavy
workloads or tight schedules can seem less burdensome.
Positive Traits to Acquire
Cheerfulness is a state of mind, or an “inner attitude.” A
cheerful person communicates a good spirit and dispels
Sense of Humor can help you cope better with pain,
enhance your immune system, reduce stress, and even
help you live longer.
Tact is the ability to say or do the right thing without
hurting another person’s feelings. Tact is sensitivity to
what is appropriate in dealing with others, including the
ability to speak or act without offending others.
Empathy is the ability to look at situations through the
eyes of others—“to walk in another’s shoes.” It has two
components—recognizing another’s feelings (a perception
skill) and responding to those feelings (a communication
Dependability, by being as good as your word, meeting
deadlines, and being at work every day and on time.
Resourcefulness, to use creativity and ingenuity to resolve
the problem or deal with the situation.
Team Spirit, when you commit to company and
department goals and cultivate positive relationships with
To form positive relationships with your coworkers:
Focus on your work, not on what others are doing.
If you have a problem with someone, talk with that
person—not everyone else in the workplace.
Don’t use your coworkers as therapists.
Treat others as you would like to be treated.
Don’t brag about your salary, promotion, children, or
Avoid monopolizing shared equipment.
Look for favorable qualities in others.
Return items that you borrow.
Don’t manage your personal life at work. Pay bills, place
online orders, and talk to your friends on your own time.
Be as good as your word. If you say you will do something,
Understand the limits of your authority and stay within
Negative Traits to Avoid
Resentment is a feeling of displeasure, ill will, and deep
anger over something you believe (correctly or incorrectly)
to be a wrong or an insult to you.
o Action + Enjoyment – Resentment = Proper
Irritating habits are “little things,” but in a busy work
environment where many people are stressed, an irritating
habit may put someone “over the edge.”
Envy and Jealousy: Resentfully desiring something that
someone else has is called envy. Jealousy is a feeling of
rivalry toward one who you believe has an advantage over
Self-pity is feeling sorry for yourself without looking at the
good things in life.
Gossip distracts workers, wastes valuable work time,
causes anxiety and can result in hurtful rumors. Gossip
tends to surface when people are curious about a situation
and the facts are not available. When this happens,
speculation begins and the informal communication
network known as the “grapevine” goes into action.
Becoming a Team Player
Team is an identifiable group of people who are
committed to a common purpose for which they hold
Teamwork refers to people working together
cooperatively to accomplish established team goals and
What Makes a Team Effective?
TEAMS IN THE WORKPLACE
Provides for a larger pool of
Some individuals are not
compatible with teamwork.
Results in more work being
accomplished in less time and in
better quality products.
Team commitments may
overshadow personal desires.
Interaction among team
members enhances the
knowledge of the whole team.
Management may recognize
group achievement rather than
The potential exists for greater
acceptance and understanding
of team-made decisions.
Workers must be selected to fit
the team as well as have the job
Less experienced workers have
the opportunity to learn from
more experienced workers.
Needless meetings may result in
Helps all workers grow by
exposing them to more
“free-riding” on teams may
Team commitment may
motivation, and attendance.
One person’s negativity can
demoralize an entire team.
What is a Team Player?
Team player is someone who emphasizes group accomplishments
and cooperation rather than individual achievement.
Committed to a Common Goal
Shares Information, Ideas, and Praise
Cooperates and Supports
What is a Virtual Team?
A virtual team is a group of people physically separated by time
and/or space and whose members primarily interact electronically in
Working with Your Supervisor
A supervisor is an employee whose key responsibility is to ensure
that the employees being supervised—sometimes called the
supervisor’s direct reports or subordinates—produce the assigned
amount of work on time and within acceptable levels of quality.
How Do You View Your Supervisor?
Leadership Styles is the method a supervisor uses to manage and
communicate with people who directly report to him or her.
The Laissez-Faire Leader gives responsibility to employees
to carry out their duties without a great deal of direction
or close supervision.
The Democratic Leader encourages employees to
participate in the management process.
The Autocratic Leader is an “in charge” person who
exercises unlimited power or authority.
What Your Supervisor Expects of You?
To form a positive relationship with your supervisor:
Keep your supervisor informed of the progress of your
Be aware of your supervisor’s expectations, strengths,
weaknesses, and leadership styles.
Do not try to change your supervisor. Try to adapt to his or
her leadership style.
Know your supervisor’s goals and understand how your
job contributes to meeting those goals.
Be sure that your priorities are in agreement with those of
Ask for feedback on your job performance.
Be honest about problems and admit your mistakes.
Avoid wasting your supervisor’s time with things you can
Be flexible and open to new technologies and changing
Sharing Your Ideas
Calling Attention to Problems—and Alternative Solutions
What to Expect of Your Supervisor?
Clear Performance Expectations
o Job description
Proper Materials and Equipment
o Proper Use of E-Mails
Organize your thoughts
Use the subject line effectively
Keep the message brief and to the
Be conscious of the tone
Be informal, not sloppy
Use short paragraphs and blank lines
between each paragraph
Proofread the message before hitting
Make sure attachments are attached
Include a signature block
Do not send inappropriate messages
Do not include usernames, passwords,
credit card information, or social
o E-Mail Etiquette
Consider file size
Be sparing with group e-mail
Do not send chain letters, virus
warnings, or junk mail
Avoid using the “high priority,”
“urgent,” and “important” flags
Avoid using abbreviations and
Text Messaging and Voicemail
o Text Messaging (or texting) is a term for sending
short messages (160 characters or fewer,
including spaces) from a mobile device to a cwll
phone, PDA, or pager.
Keep your messages brief
Remember that text messages are not
Text at appropriate times
o Voicemail is a centralized electronic system of
managing telephone messages for a large group
of people. Used broadly, the term voicemail
refers to any system of sending, receiving, and
storing voice messages, including answering
Record a clear, concise, and
Leave clear, succinct, and professional
messages for others.
Repeat your contact information.
Re-record your message if you don’t
feel you have communicated clearly.
After an absence (momentary or
longer), check your messages
POINTS TO REMEMBER:
The following traits are essential to fit in and get along in
the workplace: cheerfulness, a sense of humor, tact,
empathy, dependability, resourcefulness, and team spirit.
Negative traits to avoid include resentment, irritating
habits, envy, jealousy, and self-pity.
Gossip is a form of workplace communication. Verify the
accuracy of the information and do not pass along
information that may be hurtful to another.
Characteristics of an effective team are group
understanding, open, communication, and clear
Team players know their role and embrace team goals.
They share information, support each other, and are
Members of a virtual team interact electronically for the
Know your supervisor’s leadership style (laissez-faire,
democratic, or autocratic) and the characteristics of that
Supervisors expect employees to be accountable,
dependable, loyal, enthusiastic, and adaptable.
Employees expect supervisors to provide clear
expectations for the work, appropriate equipment and
materials, fair performance evaluations, and recognition
E-mail, text messaging, and voicemail are essential
communication tools. Use appropriate etiquette when
using these tools to ensure their effective and proper use.
Masters, L.A., et al. (2011). Personal Development for Work and Life.
Cengage Learning Asia Pte. Ltd.
Mrs. Maria Angela L. Diopol