our everyday life

Traits to Look for in a Co-Worker

by Kristine Tucker

Co-workers don't always become your best friends, but they often become your confidants, helpers, advisers, sounding boards and go-to people in the workplace. When selecting co-workers to join your team or work with you on assignments, you need to choose them wisely. You want to associate with workers who have strong work ethics and won't make you look bad in front of your boss or other business associates.

Lessons from Boy Scouts

One of the most important traits to look for in co-workers is their trustworthiness. You want to associate with co-workers who are loyal and won't talk behind your back or disclose personal information you share with them. Trust doesn't happen overnight because it takes time for co-workers to gain your trust and for you to test their loyalties. In the workplace, trust is often built through team-oriented assignments, common experiences, similar goals and joint risk-taking ventures, according to Morgan McLintic, executive vice president at the global communications agency LEWIS.

When the Chips Are Down

Reliable co-workers are important assets in the workforce. You can count on them in the good times and when the business is struggling. Dependable workers carry their weight and strive to meet deadlines, maintain positive relationships with co-workers, and work hard to make sure clients are satisfied with their products or services. Steady and stable workers don't miss work for unimportant reasons and plan their vacations and absences ahead of time so others have time to work around their schedules. Reliable co-workers take their responsibilities seriously so they don't make negligent mistakes or needlessly keep others waiting for their workplace contributions.

Just Focus

In a fast-paced and busy work environment, co-workers who can effectively focus on what's most important and effectively prioritize their workloads make job tasks easier on everyone. Employees must be able to put less vital responsibilities on hold while they accomplish tasks that are more pressing. "Information bombards employees from every direction which means employees need to become adept at filtering out and focusing on what’s crucial," says Jacob Morgan, management consultant and strategic adviser for Chess Media Group, in a 2013 Forbes article. Self-disciplined, strategic-minded, goal-oriented co-workers are beneficial to the workforce.

No Rose-Colored Glasses

Associate with co-workers who approach the job with clear heads and clear minds. Co-workers who have good judgment are able to make decisions based on what's best for the company or the overall team, rather than just what's best for themselves. They have good intuition and can make the right judgment calls in difficult or demanding work situations. "They have the courage to act on their best judgment even when they can't predict what the outcome might be," according to McLintic.

About the Author

As curriculum developer and educator, Kristine Tucker has enjoyed the plethora of English assignments she's read (and graded!) over the years. Her experiences as vice-president of an energy consulting firm have given her the opportunity to explore business writing and HR. Tucker has a BA and holds Ohio teaching credentials.

Photo Credits

  • Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images