Not on the Team?
/ Author: Geoff Dueck Thiessen
/ Categories: Newsletters /
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Not on the Team?

By Geoff Dueck Thiessen, Winnipeg Regional Director

One of the most frustrating workplace issues is when employees don’t feel respected. I’ve started to think about respect as an acknowledgment that you are a valued member of the team. For example, a team member feels like they’re being coached by management, but someone who doesn’t feel like a team member feels berated. Persuading some employers to fix this problem, especially in a large workplace, can be very difficult. Many see their core focus as sales, or service to clients, and not building a strong team.

So if some employers don’t respect their employees, do the employees just have to accept this? Acting like we’re on the team, instead of waiting to be invited, might seem backward. But it can work, and it takes everybody to get on board. Here are a few starting points. 

Assume good intent—Once you believe people hate you, it’s hard to be assertive. Assume the best about why people are acting the way they’re acting. 

Be assertive—In a tactful, direct way, at a good time, tell people what you need and let them know if their actions are hurting you. 

Be persistent—Don’t give up in the face of roadblocks and setbacks. 

Act together—If it’s difficult telling management how you feel, go to them as a group. Solidarity is powerful and it works. Involve your steward or rep. 

Take pride in your work—Even if people don’t seem to appreciate your efforts and your contributions, they might begin to if you take pride and show it. 

No freebies!—Working through your breaks or staying late and then complaining about being overworked will not lead to change. Tell your manager about why you’re working late, and if something is failing because you’re taking your break. 

Refuse unsafe work—Every worker has a right to question and refuse to do unsafe work. Team members don’t allow themselves to be injured unnecessarily. They ask the rest of the team, including managers, for help.


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