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How to Be a Supportive Co-Worker

Updated on August 17, 2011

State of the Workplace

Workplaces are often ripe with competition between co-workers for promotions and pay raises. Such an environment erodes the ability of workers to function as a team, leading to subpar performances on joint projects - negatively impacting organizational outcomes. Cutthroat workplaces with lots of competition and little co-worker support are unhappy places to work.

Ways Co-Workers Sabotage Each Other

A bad co-worker does the following:

  • withholds important information
  • fails to respond to requests for help
  • won't answer emails
  • shows up late
  • comes to meetings/presentations unprepared
  • "forgets" to follow through on assignments
  • talks about others behind their backs.

Many of the tactics that co-workers use against each other are passive aggressive and difficult to prove intent or even be sure that they are designed to sabotage. Often you may just have a feeling that a co-worker is intentionally ruining your group projects.

Be Supportive

The effort to create more positive work environments starts with each co-worker making a commitment to become a more supportive team player.

The following are ways to be more supportive:

  • share your knowledge with others
  • offer to help and follow through
  • ask and answer questions
  • respond to all emails in a timely manner
  • ask for help when you need it
  • complete your assignments
  • praise someone who does a good job.

You won't be able to change your workplace overnight. However, you can learn new behaviors. Supportive workplaces are happy ones. You don't have to always "watch your back" and can feel secure that everyone will do his/her part on a group project.


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    • truthfornow profile image

      truthfornow 6 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      @Magdelene, i hope they do get it one day but I really have my doubts as well. I think in the end everything works out, but it takes a while and it is messy in the meantime. And, you are right. It sucks to be on either side of the issue - boss or at the bottom. Been there, and it is all painful.

    • Magdelene profile image

      Magdelene 6 years ago from Okotoks


      Simple to follow pointers and I must say a well written article but... do you think the people that are lacking in several of the above areas will someday get it?

      This type of work atmosphere is a sore spot to me, been a boss in the midst of it and also been the underling and neither end of the stick is grand. It seems though that sooner or later in the majority of cases it does come out in the wash.

      Great article, thumbs up.

    • manthy profile image

      Mark 6 years ago from Alabama,USA

      I love your writing, you are amazing ;0)