Generally Speaking, Here’s THE Problem


It’s not failing to market yourself in a job interview, writing a poor cover letter that fails to grab their attention, fear of initiating a meeting with someone in the role you want or even agonizing over your career path that is the biggest problem for most people. Interestingly however, all these are tied to the fundamental one thing which holds back being successful. That one thing? Positive self-esteem.

Again and again I interact with people who question themselves, who see their abilities and skills as needing improvement. They often show their lack of self-esteem in the words they speak and write, often without even knowing that their choice of words reveals more about them then they realize. Their non-verbal communication also gives away their lack of belief in their abilities. Yes, “Believe In Yourself” is one of the best pieces of advice a person can be given. However, it’s one thing to know you should believe in yourself and quite another to actually do it.

Take the person who, upon sitting down in an interview, starts off by saying, “Oh my gosh, I’m really nervous, I’m going to try my best but…” Or the cover letter that says, “I believe I can do the job”, and not, “I know I can do the job”. Then the body language people use, often folding into themselves in trying to become invisible, or the doubt they reflect on their face as they speak, the weak handshakes, the lack of eye contact etc.

Poor or low self-esteem is robbing employer’s of great employees, and robbing people of wonderful opportunities in the workforce. It keeps people in entry-level jobs when they do get them, and can keep people from taking chances because their fear of failure outweighs their desire for success. It’s sad. It’s more than just sad actually and it’s got to change.

Now if you feel your self-esteem is low, it’s likely you’re not to blame. If you seldom got praised or supported as a child growing up – be it from parents, extended family and teachers etc., it naturally follows that these key authority figures in your early life did you a major disservice which now as an adult has you instinctively doubtful of yourself. Now as an adult, you might not believe others when they say you’re beautiful; being overly critical of minor flaws. You might not have the courage to stand up and tell your parents – even as an adult – that what you really want to do in life is ….

Here’s the good news. Just as years and years of never being complimented, encouraged and supported can do a great deal of damage to your self-esteem, the same can be said of the reverse. In other words, you can in fact improve your self-esteem. This is not something however that’s going to correct itself overnight. Just telling yourself that you’re going to believe in yourself isn’t going to undo decades of damage. Damage by the way might seem like a strong word to use, but honestly, if you’ve been put down or never even had words of encouragement from your parents and significant people in your life, they have in fact damaged you whether it was intentional or not.

Building your self-esteem and self-respect back up is something you can do however. When someone gives you a compliment, do yourself a favour and accept their assessment instead of automatically downplaying or disagreeing with their words. What someone has recognized in you as good and worthy of noting is a good thing. The choice is yours to say a simple thank you or deflect those words with your automatic, “What? This old thing?” or “I don’t see myself that way.”

The person you are now is a product of your past, and it’s equally true that the person you become in the future will be a product of both your present and your future. Yes, it takes time, but time alone won’t change things much. You really need a combination of time, surrounding yourself with positive people who recognize and voice the good in you, and a willingness on your part to be open to seeing yourself differently; a change in your attitude.

You deserve a positive future. You are worthy of the good things in life; the very things you want such as a good job, supportive and positive relationships, feeling good about who you are as a person and seeing yourself as a person of worth.

One thing you can consider is removing yourself from the constant influence of negative people; the one’s who tell you that you’ll never amount to much; that you should just settle in life and you’ll always be flawed. You’re so much better than how they see you! When these people happen to be in your family, you might consider telling them how hurtful their words are, and that they’ve got to get behind you or get out of your way. The person you’ve been is not the person you’re going to be.

Build on small successes. Sure it starts with being open to the, “Believe in Yourself” philosophy. When others say good things about you, accept that they see something in you that you yourself may not; and they just might be right, especially if you’ve heard this from others.

Self-esteem can be rebuilt and when it does, it’s a beautifully powerful thing.

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A Mock Job Interview Exercise


I know! I know! Yes, you and just about everyone else dreads job interviews, so why on earth would you find a mock interview helpful? The answer of course is that you and just about everyone else dreads job interviews so it’s likely the case you’re not doing any mock interviews to improve your actual performance when the real thing comes up.

If you’re an Employment Coach/Counsellor and you prepare people for job interviews as part of your role, you know the value in taking all the information you’ve provided to those you’re helping and giving them an interview to show those same skills. This practice interview if it goes well can boost the confidence one has that they can replicate this in future situations, and if it doesn’t go perfectly, you can both find what needs improving and feel good about what aspects did go as planned. In other words, reinforce the good and work on improving areas that need it.

Now for three weeks I’ve been working with a dozen people in a classroom setting. We’ve been specifically addressing issues related to job searching, and both yesterday and today, it all culminates with the big mock interview. This much they knew on day one. What they didn’t know until yesterday was how that mock interview would be conducted. They believed it was going to be a one on one experience; just them and me, isolated in some office away from the other 11 participants.

As it happens, I had a different method in mind. I set up a table in the classroom with three chairs on one side and a single chair on the other. When it was someone’s turn, I had them get up and leave the room, then selected two of their classmates to sit on either side of me one the one side. We three would act as a panel; something many find a little more intimidating. This intimidation wasn’t what I was going for mind, in fact neither person on either side of me was to ask any questions, take notes or even give feedback. They were simply there to create the panel effect. Given that we’ve all been together for three weeks and it’s a supportive group, that intimidation factor was not what you’d otherwise expect with strangers.

I then had a fourth classmate act as the Receptionist, who would go out, welcome the person and bring them in to the panel. After greeting the panel, they’d sit down, set up their material in front of them and away we’d go!

Now had I told the group on day one that it would be a panel interview, that anxiety would have built up over time – even if I’d told them the day before, it would have increased unnecessarily. Why would I want to create extra stress and anxiety over something I want to go well? And go well they have so far.

The other advantage of doing this mock interview in front of their classmates is that those outside the panel and sitting around the room found that by listening to the feedback I was giving each person at the end of their mock interview, they corrected things themselves when it was their turn. I heard people changing, “If you hire me” to “when you hire me.” I also heard them change, “I like what you guys do here” to ” I’m impressed with your organization.” Polishing…

Now the mock interview is a positive experience which works because we’ve had three weeks together to go over expected behaviour, structuring the answers, anticipating the right questions likely to be asked and how to present yourself to your best advantage.

Some of my classmates are Canadian-born and have gone through Canadian interviews all their lives. Others are relatively newcomers, and while they’ve all had job interviews in the past, these people have yet to experience what a Canadian job interview might look like. This mock interview for them, is extremely useful and comforting. After all, get through a mock interview and you’ll feel more confident if you have one in the future.

Today the other six participants have their shot at the mock interview. It’s not a long drawn out affair; a minimum number of questions. What’s significant is to have the experience. All are expected to come ready to answer the questions using the format shared, and all are expected to have a question or two ready to pose as the interview wraps up.

Now, while many were still nervous; and some have stated they are nervous about todays interviews, all of them pushed through the nerves and get on with it. There’s trust you see that I wouldn’t put them in a position to fail – and fail miserably – when I’ve demonstrated for three weeks that I’ve got their success foremost in our mutual best interest. That trust is essential for them and while they don’t know it, that’s the entire key to succeeding. They trust in me and what I’m sharing with them as being in their best interests, and I trust in them to take that same information and use it as best they can. Couldn’t be prouder of them as a group for how they’ve done. No one dropped out of class, attendance has been great, but even greater than the attendance has been the investment they’ve made while present.

 

Why Is It They Always Want A Smile?


I’ve been in rehearsals since September for a production of The Little Mermaid. We now have three of our six performances completed, and this coming weekend right here in Lindsay, Ontario we will end the run. It’s been very fun – a lot of work mind; but a lot of fun to bring our various characters to the stage. I’m playing Grimsby who is Prince Eric’s guardian.

One of the constant notes we as a collective cast get is to smile when on stage. This I entirely understand. After all, the audience has paid for an evening’s entertainment, and when they look up and see 40 smiling faces beaming out at them, well… they can’t help but smile as well. And when you’re smiling, you’re having a good time enjoying not only the performance, but the whole experience. The thing is that smiling comes more naturally to some than others.

Not surprisingly, employer’s also want their staff wearing a smile as they go about their work; almost certainly if your job involves dealing with your customers, clients or the public on the front line. However, I’ve come to observe the same issue happens at work locations that happens in the world of musical theatre; there are those who wear it naturally and those who have to work hard at it.

If you’re one of those who have to work at having a smile, you’ve probably heard over and over to smile. In fact, you’re probably pretty sick and tired of having people your whole life tell you to turn that frown upside down, or how it wouldn’t hurt you to smile more often. Many of the people who don’t smile naturally are actually feeling quite good. They might even be happy in fact; it just doesn’t communicate to others that they are.

Smiles generally communicate warmth, happiness, enjoyment and friendliness. Unfortunately the absence of a smile can communicate discontent, stress, unhappiness; even come across as not wanting to be approached.

When we interact with others, we do so both verbally and non-verbally through our actions and our facial expressions play a huge part in this silent communication. Now take someone who is in fact overstressed, sullen, disinterested in their work or a tad annoyed even. That face their making can unfortunately be mirrored by some people who are not in fact feeling any of those things – they just don’t naturally smile. The message however, can be identical to the public who receives that smile.

So therein lies both the reason the employer wants a smiling staff and the reason they tend to be put off by those who don’t. They figure to themselves, if this person isn’t smiling here in the job interview, they certainly aren’t going to smile when on the floor dealing with the public. And to be honest, it’s not only on the floor in front of the customer that a smile is wanted. Even in a factory setting for example, far removed from the customers’ gaze, a smile can make a team of co-workers spend their time together more pleasantly. The lack of a smile can make interacting with your co-workers strained for some, and just unpleasant for others.

Years ago I believe somewhere I learned it takes 17 muscles to smile and 43 to frown. The message was, “So why work so hard?” Thinking back to musicals, there’s also a great song in Annie called, “You’re never fully dressed without a smile.” Great advice that.

But I really feel for the people for whom this smile is something that takes a great deal of effort. And of course if your teeth aren’t in great shape you might actually wish you could smile more often but your low self-confidence in your smile might prevent you from flashing it more often. Fixing that smile might take a lot of money and may not be something you can afford to invest in. If that’s the case, I get that. By the way, if you’re on Social Assistance, you might want to inquire into dental care. If you have benefits where you work, checking with your provider might also be worth your time to find out what work you could have done. Self-confident people do smile when their teeth aren’t a concern.

However, if you understand and agree that a smile sends a positive message but yours still doesn’t come naturally, may I suggest that you consciously work at remembering to use it once or twice in any lengthy interaction. That brief smile might just have a bigger impact because it’s going to get noticed when you do use it.

Smiles attract smiles in others too. Look around today as you meet and interact with others. Do an experiment if you’d like and flash your smile at people. If you count the number of people who instinctively smile in return in response to your own, you’ll be surprised at how many you’ll get. It adds up. A smile is free to give and can lift someone’s spirits too. You never know when you give your smile to someone who is feeling down, just how much that simple gesture might mean. A smile can signal you’ve acknowledged they even exist.

We’re about to head into a season where many go about with a, “Merry Christmas” or a “Happy Holidays” in their everyday speech. Add a smile and you’ll fit right in!

Lost Trust In Others?


Many people I meet with trust issues, at one time were extremely trusting in others, however someone took their trust and abused it. Others shared their secrets, failed to respect their confidential and shared information; eventually hurting the person in such a profound way that they’ve never really fully trusted again. So here they are, not only distrusting others, but no longer trusting in their own ability to assess whom to trust.

Being taken advantage of, now the person doubts their judgement in trusting anyone, which lowers their self-esteem – and all in acts of self-protection. Consequently, they never fully trust those around them, doubt themselves and miss out on a lot of good things in life.

Wow! That’s some pretty significant negative consequences, all stemming from being a trustworthy person in the first place (a great personal quality). Can you imagine how a person must feel who goes through this world, never trusting anyone completely; always expecting they’ll be let down and taken advantage of again? Believing the best way to safeguard your personal thoughts, deepest feelings and the things you struggle with is to keep them all to yourself. Is that healthy? Not really.

No, keeping everything to yourself and never trusting others for fear of being exposed and taken advantage of can severely limit great experiences, rich relationships and it’s these that can work wonders on your own self-image. I’m not saying we should all be sharing absolutely everything with all the people around us. No, personal, private thoughts, feelings and problems are often kept exactly that way – internalized and private. Sometimes we can work through our issues entirely within ourselves.

However, there are many times in our lives when an empathetic or even sympathetic ear could be helpful. Someone to hear us out, a kind of sounding board for the things we’re thinking about, struggling to deal with, being weighed down by. When we share the big things with someone, our burden is often lighter, even when they just listen. Of course if we want advice, possible options for dealing with whatever is weighing on us, a trusted opinion from someone who has our best interests at heart can be wonderful.

This kind of person usually isn’t found in the workplace but rather in our personal lives. It’s a close friend perhaps, someone you confide in who takes what you say, doesn’t get alarmed and tell you what to think or what not to think, but simply hears you out and shares what’s important to you just by being there. Workmates we trust in typically hear us talk about working conditions, things specifically related to our jobs like the boss, co-worker relationships, workloads and job satisfaction. Sometimes we might even confide in someone about our plans to look elsewhere for a job without letting the boss know.

If you’ve ever told a co-worker something in confidence and found they’ve gone and made your secrets known to others, you would likely lower your trust in that person, or perhaps rule them out completely with anything significant in the future.

Sometimes of course, the person who breaks your trust does so with your own best interests at heart. They might be conflicted if for example you shared something that would cause financial loss to the employer, or if you were in danger of hurting yourself or another person. Their moral dilemma between keeping your trust versus the safety of others or employer loyalty might cause them great distress.

Some are just naturally better at earning, keeping and returning trust than others. It’s a skill after all; not something we are equally good at. When someone breaks trust, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are inherently bad, or will break trust in the future, but it makes it hard to extend trust a second time.

Now, the sad thing about people who have had their trust misplaced in the past, is that they exist in the present wary of trusting now. Without someone to confide in, they are left to work out their problems and issues all on their own. When trustworthy people do come into contact with the person, the person may miss opportunities that could help them move forward with less stress and much quicker. That fear of perhaps misjudging someone again and having their trust misplaced is greater than the perceived benefit of trusting, so they don’t.

I suppose the greater the fallout from misplaced trust in the past, the more a person withholds their trust in the present; insisting to themselves that they get to know someone over a long time and gauge how they handle small bits of information before ever contemplating sharing deeper issues. Having one’s trust broken is like having an internal scar that only you can see and it can run deep, flaring up when you’re thinking of trusting again – just as a reminder.

When someone does trust you with their feelings and struggles, it’s a wonderful gift. It’s a measure of the value they place in you; both for hearing them out and for what you’ll do with what you hear. You show respect for what you hear and more importantly for the person themselves when you hold that trust firm.

Trusting in others is a good quality to have. My hope is that if you’ve lost the ability to trust, you eventually rediscover the tremendous benefits of confiding in someone, and that your trust in them is rewarded.

Bitterness; It’s Expensive To Carry


If a link to this article landed in your Inbox, or if it’s been printed and left anonymously on your desk, it could be that someone working close to you is taking the rather bold step of drawing your bitterness to your attention. Don’t get angry, don’t throw this immediately in the trash or click close on your browser. You can do either of those things in a few minutes. Could be they are trying to do you a favour without having to face you openly.

Bitterness is something that everyone feels once in a while. Call it extreme disappointment; maybe feeling robbed of some person or some thing we had counted on to be there for us. Perhaps you lost a loved one or you were passed over in the end for a promotion or a new job that had been yours for the taking or even promised you.

The thing is, extreme disappointment or bitterness isn’t supposed to last. It’s supposed to have an expiry period. Oh sure you will always recall the disappointment or even the heartache of whatever you feel was denied you. However, carrying that disappointment and allowing it to fester and grow, carrying it around with you like a badge of honour, is highly unattractive. It’s so unattractive in fact that not only does it show yourself in a negative light, it can be denying you many good things in life; opportunities you may or may not even know are being passed by as you get passed over.

You have to ask yourself, ‘What does carrying around my bitterness and making sure everyone I meet gets a taste of it do for me?’ Imagine if you will a straight line; on the extreme left you’ve got Joy, Elation, Excitement etc. Way over on the extreme right you’ve got Bitterness, Anger, Loathing. Somewhere in the middle  there’s a midpoint of the two. What appears to have happened in your case is that some event or a series of events, has moved you way over to the extreme right and you never recovered your center; you’re grounded somewhere it’s unnatural to be, but it’s become your every day experience; and unfortunately it’s become what others who interact with you see as your dominant trait. No one was ever meant to stay in that extreme end position; unfortunately it seems you have.

If you’ve ever heard someone say things like, “Hey lighten up”, “What’s your problem?”, “It wouldn’t kill you to smile you know” etc., these are others ways of trying to get you to move on that scale. No one expects you to do a complete 180 and be joyous, excited and elated all the time. No, that would be unnatural for your disposition. At the same time, where you are permanently is where people were only meant to be periodically, and it’s not natural.

So maybe you’re not a people-person; or maybe it’s not that so much as you’d rather do things solo more often than you do at the moment. Could be the role you have in your work life isn’t a natural fit; that the job requires interpersonal skills and a general attitude that differs significantly from your own. If this is the case, one obvious sign is that when you’re away from work – say in your personal life and at home, you’re a changed person. Yes, if you feel your face gets set in a concrete grimace and lines of stress, furrowed eyebrows and a scowl start appearing on your commute to the workplace, this could be the reason.

However, if this bitterness persists beyond the workplace and is your reality both at work and every other place you go, it’s not just work that’s the problem. In such a case, you may find yourself more isolated from people in general no matter what the circumstances. I suppose you have to ask yourself, “Am I happy – really happy – with things the way they are.” If you think the world has to give you some reasons to feel less bitter before you make any conscious effort to drop the bitterness, it’s likely not going to work out that way. It always starts with you.

Look, whomever brought this to your attention is likely concerned about you and FOR you. Sure they’d rather interact with a happier you, but in truth, they probably are more focused on helping you become what they know could be a better you for your own sake.

Bitterness grows if you feed it. So you might have the experience, education and skills to deserve a promotion. However, your bitterness which comes across as brooding and biting is extremely concerning to those making the hiring decision. They aren’t going to promote you and give you added responsibility when this position you want is one of influence. No, it’s costing you dearly, and so as you get passed over again and again, your bitterness grows and gets reinforced.

Some need professional help to face where the bitterness stems from and help learning how to leave it behind. Not all, but some. You’ll also get massive support from anyone you talk to and ask for their help as you attempt to change what has become so ingrained in how you go about things.

It’s your life of course to live as you choose. Just don’t underestimate the cost of holding on to the bitterness.

 

Looking For Work?


Not long ago, I was watching this fellow staring at the jobs on a board. I watched him scan the jobs for about 3 or 4 minutes and then he took one down and made a photocopy of it. Curious, I asked him what job he had selected and why that one.

He had to look at the posting and read me the job title. His reason for choosing this one was – and I quote – “I dunno. Why not? It’s as good as any other; there’ll all the same.” He then took his résumé and sent it to the email as requested by the employer. The whole process was about 10 minutes from first finding the job to having applied.

If your own job search is similar to this fellow’s, my guess is you’ve had a hard time finding truly satisfying work; a job or career that’s a great fit.

Here’s some factors to consider in the hunt for your next job:

  1. Know the purpose of the work you’ll do. This is more than just reading what you’ll do in a job posting. Look into why you’ll be doing the job and how what you’ll be doing contributes to the overall organization. When you understand the purpose of your work, your own value rises; successful people always know the purpose of what they do.
  2. Know your own work values. If you don’t even understand this one, get some guidance from an Employment Counsellor or Coach and define the things that you hold as highly valued. When you go looking for work, you can then ask questions to find the things an employer values and see how these will fit with respect to your own. Find a good fit and the probability of a good match increases significantly.
  3. Find a job that plays to your strengths. You have to know yourself well enough to understand what your strengths are in the first place, and of all your strengths, know which ones you really want to use most in your next job. When you do more of the things you’re good at, the likelihood that you’ll do well increases.
  4. Work with a boss or supervisor whose style you can thrive with. Most job seekers never even remotely consider the management style of the boss they’ll work under next, or if they do, they just hope it works out. Even when they’ve had a poor experience with a terrible supervisor, not many think to look into the leadership style of the next person they’ll report to. Make some inquiries, ask questions of people they supervise now.
  5. Know your value. Sure we all would like to make a lot of money, but what’s your objective value in the marketplace? Your year’s of experience, level of education and how dated that education is are just some of the factors that will go into determining the level of salary you can reasonably expect.
  6. While it might sound odd and a waste of your time, know your philosophy as it pertains to work. If you think you don’t have one, let me tell you that you really do, you just haven’t put it into words. The things you value are excellent clues about what guides you in the work you do, the decisions you make, the way you view the world around you. Find a job where your work philosophy is a natural fit and you’ll be so much more satisfied. Ever had a job you just couldn’t continue with because you didn’t agree with the way the employer went about things? That was really a conflict between your philosophy and theirs.
  7. As for your weak areas – and it’s natural to have them – don’t choose to work in a job where your weaknesses will expose you to being fired. If you’re not a people person, don’t work in Customer Relations! While working on improving yourself in areas you know you’re not strong is good, you’ll do best if the job plays more to your strengths.
  8. Know what motivates you. This next job is one you’ll be at presumably 7 or more hours a day and maybe 35 or more hours a week. The things that motivate you both personally and professionally should align in some way with this new job. Are you motivated by time with family? Then don’t choose a career or job that takes you away from them excessively such as on weekends and nights. You won’t last. If you’re motivated by money or security, look at the salary; the potential salary and is the length of your stay fixed at the start or in your own hands to determine based on your performance?
  9. Look at the commute. How are you going to get to this job? If you rely on transit, don’t waste many people’s time applying for jobs you’ll turn down or quit after two days because of distance. This might sound obvious, but many people suddenly realize things are too hard to get to. Take a trip before applying and imagine it 5 days a week.
  10. Find a fit with co-workers. Certain jobs, certain fields of work, attract people of similar beliefs, interests and personalities. Know what makes you tick, the things you like and don’t like in how you interact with co-workers. These are much more important than you might now believe.

Not a complete list for sure, but factors to think about. Comments?

 

Teamwork As A Valued Trait


Looking at job postings these days, teamwork is one qualification that shows up fairly consistently; the ability to work cooperatively and productively with others. It’s a highly valued commodity; an essential quality that employer’s want more and more in the people they bring in from the outside to join their existing workforces.

It’s more though than simply getting along with others. When you work as a member of a team, you’ve got to understand and act differently than you would if you were working independently. A member of a team comes to rely on others and at the same time be relied upon by them to complete assigned work. Good teams trust each person to show up when scheduled, pull their own weight and go about their work in such a way that fits the other employees. When you’re the new hire, you’re being assessed by the employer and your new co-workers to see how you’ll fit in with the existing workforce; everyone is hoping you’ll contribute in such a way that doesn’t disrupt the way things are. This is true unless of course you’re part of an overhaul of how things have been done and the company wants to shift the culture from the way things have been to something different.

Long ago, many job applicants had similar skills and backgrounds. When an employer advertised an opening, they found that the people applying shared common work histories; people didn’t tend to move around much, and people were interchangeable without much need for teams to adapt to new people. These days, things have changed. Because it’s easier to move around the globe, often employees are showing up not just from different parts of the community, they’re coming from different countries altogether; sometimes from different continents, speaking different languages and having different ways of doing similar work. People aren’t as interchangeable as they once were, and now need much more orientation to local methods, specific procedures and company practices.

You find too that friction is inevitable for some when bringing in new people. Whereas in the past the new hire had to assimilate themselves into the culture of the teams they joined, now you find that many existing workers have to gain an awareness and sensitivity to the needs of the person hired as well. This is a good thing, but it requires effort on the part of the existing team in a way that long ago wasn’t such a priority. Employers too have learned to be culturally sensitive to the needs of their individual workforce members. They go out of their way now to train people on how to work better together – and by better, they ultimately mean be more productive.

Many workers are now cross-trained; they learn not just how to do the job they were initially hired for, but they also learn how to do the job of others. When a person is cross-trained, they become more adaptable, can work in two or three different roles if need be, they become more valuable to the employer. For the person, they are increasing their own skills and doing everything they can to stay hired.

Communication skills are essential when working together. It’s more than just being able to talk and write clearly though. It’s all the non-verbal interaction that’s going on too. Even when working side-by-side with someone, it’s anticipating what they’ll do next, knowing when they’ll need to interact with you and knowing when you’ll be interacting with the next person on your team. Doing your work and being counted on by your teammates to be reliable and dependable goes a long way to fitting in.

The thing about a team environment is that each member should understand and buy in to the same end goals. These can be quotas and targets to hit on a daily basis for example, or they can be how a product is delivered to the customers or end-users. Many teams take a lot of pride in what they do, and if someone – a new hire in this case, threatens that mood or feeling, it will need to be addressed.

Sometimes an organization will actually hire more employees than they plan on keeping. What they are doing in fact is having an internal competition to see who among the new employees will fit with the existing chemistry the best. Or said another way, they are determining who is the most disruptive, performing more independently than gelling with others, and who then to let go.

In a job interview, it’s not enough to say you’re a team player. Too many other people are making the same claims. What is absolutely critical is to give clear examples from your past or current work experiences where you’ve thrived working cooperatively with others and been highly productive. When you show or prove you’ve worked effectively as a valued team member, you make it easier for the interviewers to envision you performing similarly for them. This is where many applicants fail miserably; they make statements with nothing to back up their claims.

Teamwork is about recognizing the strengths of each person and putting everyone in a position to contribute towards the common end goal. If you don’t know what your teams purpose is, this is something you should immediately ask. And while you don’t need to be best friends with your team, show some interest in them.