Melinda O’Rourke, The Founder and Director of MO Luxury Specialist Consulting Solutions on getting the right balance:
RESCU: How important is it to build social networks in an office environment?
Melinda O’Rourke: Very important. It will make working life more enjoyable and it shows you are a ‘team player’ and have integrated into the company/culture quickly, which shows flexibility, open mindedness and a willingness to achieve.
RESCU: What is the best way to present yourself to managers and co-workers?
Melinda O’Rourke: Be confident. More confidence in yourself means that you are comfortable with where you are at work-wise and personally. However, a strong dose of self-awareness is equally as important. A quiet confidence is always welcomed by management as this usually reflects consideration and professionalism.
RESCU: Can you be too sociable?
Melinda O’Rourke: Being too friendly earns a reputation as all talk and no action – spending more time nattering around the water cooler than talking over ideas in the boardroom. Of course, don’t get drunk at office functions or on Friday drinks, and if you’re a manager, keep removed from your employees’ social catch-ups, as tempting as they may seem. In general, friendly talking and a level of social networking/emailing/coffee are all fine as long they don’t overstep the company guidelines.
RESCU: How can you avoid getting involved in office gossip?
Melinda O’Rourke: If you receive information of a gossipy nature, stop it right there and don’t pass it on. Don’t get involved. There is a no-win situation and managers will ‘sniff’ out the office gossips a mile away.
RESCU: What’s the best way to approach unfriendly people?
Melinda O’Rourke: Take a step back to observe personalities. Find out what it is about a certain person that is challenging and think of a couple of ways to approach them. For example, when you know a person has a short fuse or stresses easily, there’s no point in inflaming the situation, so choose your time to approach them to discuss work-related matters. You don’t want to feel threatened and co-workers will want to feel comfortable approaching you with work related queries as well.