Teens, you need to know what your colleagues (even in your part time job) expect from you.

Being effective in the workforce isn’t just about impressing your boss, it’s also about making a positive contribution to those working alongside you.

Here are some key transferable skills that will make you a better co-worker:

Be a team player

The smart and humble person understands what it means to be a ‘team player’. They’re not just thinking about their own career – they recognise the value of contributing their talents and skills in order to help others and to grow the organisation. The team player is also the first one to put up their hand if they stuff up.

If you find yourself in that situation, think about what you might have done to contribute to the problem and what you could do to make it right. Most people would rather find someone else to blame than take responsibility for the problem and fix it.

It’s tempting to be the ‘rock star’ by putting yourself out there and showing off your talents – and you should do your very best, with an attitude of excellence. But the defining thing is your motivation. If you’re purely driven by ambition at all costs, your success will be short-lived. Being a lone wolf will wear you out, and stepping on or over other people to get what you want will take a toll on your relationships. Ending up isolated and unhappy is not the definition of success!

Be part of the company culture

You’ll probably be spending about a third of your life at work, so understanding others and having great people skills will not only make that part of your life more enjoyable but will also set you up for bigger opportunities.

When an employer interviews you for a role, they are looking to see if you are a match for the culture or personality of their organisation, as much – if not more – than they are looking for your skills. Employers can train you in technical skills but they can’t train your basic personality and attitude. They want to know if you’ll be able to fit in with the people who already work there. Let’s face it – you probably won’t have much experience when you first leave school or university – you’ll be the new kid – so make an effort to get along with your colleagues.

Most work places are dynamic interpersonal spaces where communication and relationships matter. The only exception to this might be if you’re working in some sectors of IT industry, where they keep you isolated in a back room and throw a piece of raw meat under the door every few days to keep you going!

Sharing your working space

Your mum probably goes nuts when you’re a slob at home. You have to keep your space clean and tidy, and the work environment is no different. These days many office work environments are open plan. No one has a set desk, so the first person in each morning has the best choice. Be considerate of other people who might have to use the same areas as you do. With less and less paper being used, it’s getting easier to be tidy, but it still requires some focus.

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