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Bridges – Build Them, Don’t Burn Them

Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will every regret.

– Ambrose Bierce

Yep, it’s only normal to want to drop-kick them out the office window and through the field goal uprights. You know who I mean: that jerk down the hall the fourth time she breaks out her with her rendition of Barry Manilow’s greatest hits – and that’s the fourth time today….

Or that co-worker who nuked his anchovy pizza in the office microwave and now your nostrils (and stomach) are in full revolt….

Or that boss whose idea of team motivation is group hugs and a mean game of Friday afternoon charades….

Truth is, working in close proximity with others is guaranteed to make you crazy at some point or another, and the temptation to “blow” can sometimes be pretty overwhelming. As can be the sweet vindication of trashing someone via social media – I mean, we know they deserve it, right?

But don’t do it.

Why? Because your best interests are served by building bridges, not burning them.

No matter what profession you’re in or what industry you’re a part of, these worlds are a lot smaller than you’d think, and especially with the social media sharing that’s so much a part of everyone’s lives. A single rash act of anger can come back to trip you up when you least expect it – when a hiring manager is checking you out with former co-workers, or calling for a reference, or looking online for any unprofessional statements (especially about bosses or employers!).

Also, former coworkers and bosses can often be the source of job referrals over the course of your career, but only if they trust your judgment and ability to work successfully with all types of personalities. After all, their recommendation of you is a reflection of their judgment. And more often than you’d suspect, that person who was driving you nuts may end up in a position to help or hinder your career.

Instead, work to build bridges with everyone you work with, even when difficult. One of the most valued professional attributes you can become known for is the ability to work effectively and easily with all different types and generations of co-workers. If you want to advance to a management role, this will be critical to your success – and if you want to be a good manager, you’ll want to learn how to master and model this behavior for your co-workers before you’re in a position to ask the same of them.

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