2. Bonding With Co-Workers
You’re right: It’s always a good idea to attend work happy hours, volunteer days and other forms of group bonding, because while these people are your colleagues, they’re also the people with whom you spend 40-plus hours a week.
But bonding becomes problematic when you become very close to some co-workers … and not others. “It’s a mistake to align yourself with one person or one camp,” cautions Marian Their, founder and C.E.O. of coaching, training and consulting firm Expanding Thought. “While it’s tempting to align yourself with a strong person or group, in doing so, you separate yourself from everyone else. Then what happens when personnel changes occur, someone falls out of favor, or you need support from someone not in the chosen group?”
To keep from getting in too deep with some colleagues over others, Their advises people to take some simple steps to keep things friendly across the board: Go to lunch with a group of people, or different people each day; sit next to people who aren’t your deskmates already at meetings; mix up your routine a bit—stop by the kitchen or watercooler for a brief chat at different times of day, to run into different people.
“The higher up in the organization you go,” reminds Their, “the more important it is to be observant and prudent. Remember that while having allies is extremely important, so is having people who will challenge you.”