Gonzalo Ónega is a former soccer player who currently works as a coach at Club Deportivo Guadalajara. Beyond his sporting achievements, he is known for the interest that his press conferences usually arouse, especially when he talks about locker room management. In fact, a video in which Ónega expressed his opinion about the importance of having team players has just gone viral on social networks. He did it with these words: “I don’t like egos and individualities very much, since they end up weighing down the human quality of the group and diminishing collective performance.”
The Guadalajara coach knows that a soccer locker room, like any other type of organization, is built on the pillars of personal relationships. And he is right, as various studies show that the work environment is one of the factors most valued by workers, with support rates above 90%. Likewise, being surrounded by good colleagues also has positive effects on results, since it increases commitment and increases productivity, as is clear from research by the Gallup consulting firm.
90% of workers believe that the work environment is an important factor
And how does a good co-worker have to be? We can surely find the best answer exemplified by someone we have known throughout our professional career and who has ended up becoming an essential part of our growth. We can all put a different face on the ideal partner, although there are some shared characteristics that are worth highlighting.
The first is the one that Gonzalo Ónega reminded us of, and it has to do with the virtue of knowing how to link individual interests to collective ones, establishing a balance that avoids any action that threatens group well-being for the sake of individual success. They are team players, as valued by their peers as they are prized by their superiors.
The second common quality among good colleagues is that their relationship with others transcends the strictly professional facet to also delve into the most human part. When done honestly, establishing a holistic interaction with people allows values as relevant as empathy, understanding or solidarity to emerge. On this issue, a survey by the company MichaelPage ensures that 63% of Spanish employees maintain contact with their colleagues outside the workplace. In addition, 50% do not do so for work-related issues.
Another competence for good professional companionship is generosity, in the broad sense of the term. And there are two types of people: those who only pity you in sorrow and those who are also (sincerely) happy about your triumphs. It is better to stay with the latter, since they are the truly generous ones, stripped of insecurities and envy, without fear of sharing information and knowledge, always ready to have a coffee when the other needs it most.
And if we had to cite a fourth characteristic, we could highlight the positive mental attitude. Because the good companion is the one who makes us smile every morning, the one who gives us an optimistic vision and knows how to focus on the half full of the bottle. In short, the one who encourages us to keep adding because he infects us with the philosophy described by the writer Tony Robins: “Great professionals dedicate 5% of the time to the problem and 95% to the solution.”
The other side of the coin
Just as a good colleague can have a very positive impact on professional development, coming across toxic colleagues can also be decisive in hindering promising futures. According to Professor Tessa Wes, we need to avoid seven categories of workers: the comparator, the opportunist, the selfish, the freelancer, the micromanager, the negligent, and the liar.