It’s true, you can learn a thing or two from your pets. And I don’t just mean responsibility or how to care for something other than yourself. Recently, I rescued a dog from the K9 Stray Rescue League and introduced her into my home.
She has been a joy and a learning experience for me. Oh, did I mention I already had two (very comfortable and spoiled) cats? That's where this has been the biggest challenge for me, including a lot of trial and error. It made me realize this relates to everyday life of a working human being: you get a job, you have to learn how that particular company operates, and you meet new people who become your co-workers and people you essentially spend the majority of your time with.
This is where I got to thinking of how the experience with my furry friends can relate to the different personalities and work styles of each individual you interact with daily. If my two, stuck-in-their-ways cats can get along with a new dog (or at least tolerate her), then us human beings can get along (or learn to get along) with different individuals as well.
Here’s my thoughts on making it work with others:
Slow introductions. It’s usually best not to share too much about yourself too soon. While introducing my cats to the new dog, I made sure I didn’t just allow the dog to own the place. It’s good to first get an idea of what personality traits your co-worker portrays. Do they prefer face-to-face communication versus email? Are they direct or soft-spoken? Sit back, and see what kind of traits they possess.
Find a common ground I’m lucky enough to work in a place where I enjoy my co-workers, but I realize not everyone has this luxury. Try getting to know your co-workers and finding traits or interests that you share. If there’s one co-worker where you have nothing in common, embrace the differences! If we were all the same, think how boring the world would be.
Know your audience. To communicate effectively with fellow employees, know who you are talking to and acknowledge the different personality traits between yourself the individual. If you’re talking to an extrovert, they may want to talk face-to-face or in large groups. As for introverts, they may prefer to speak in a one-on-one setting versus a large team setting. I’ve had to do some disciplining to my dog (the extrovert), to ensure my cats (introverts) were comfortable with the new situation. Adjusting my communications to the dog compared to the cats helped ensure boundaries between the two.
Don’t talk too much. There is a rule that states most people lose their focus after 40 seconds of someone talking. Allow for turns and acknowledge when a person is speaking by giving them their time. Also, pay attention to your co-workers feedback and direction. Are they asking questions, yawning, or crossing their arms? You may need to change the way you are speaking to someone based on their body language.
If I could leave you with one last tip to takeaway, whether it be for pets or humans, always remember to ease in with caution, but don’t ever stray away from being yourself!
Interested in rescuing a furry friend? Check out PetFinder.com to find an animal in need.