Good coworkers can make or break a workplace. They can make your day enjoyable or make it a living hellhole.
I had dozens of coworkers in my lifetime, and I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Therefore, I’ve compiled this list of personality traits that will help you determine whether your colleagues are supportive and good to work with or if you should stay away from them (as much as you can).
1) They are trustworthy
Trustworthiness and integrity is the number one trait that supportive team members have. They could be the best of the best in their field, but if you can’t trust them, it’s all for nothing.
Let me tell you, there’s nothing worse than having suspicions about a fellow coworker. While working as a sales assistant many years ago, I met so many different characters. I still remember this period fondly.
I also remember, somewhat vividly, that you could smell the ones that had something to hide.
This helped me when I climbed the ranks and had to actually manage other employees. And I’m going to tell you something. I’d take a mediocre employee that I trust 100% over a worker that does their job tremendously but has an aura of suspicion around them.
Trustworthy coworkers are also, unfortunately, hard to find these days when company and job loyalty are at their lowest.
Of course, employees are also largely to blame because they aren’t investing in their employees and paying them a fair day’s wage.
But let’s move on, as this next trait is also telling.
2) They don’t play games
Office and workplace politics are a fact of life, whether you like it or not. You have to slither like a snake in many companies, navigating your coworkers, managers, and owners.
I, for one, never liked playing this awful game, and I would suck at it anyway, as I can’t imagine myself kissing ass and constantly portraying myself as the best.
Backstabbing is also something that happens relatively often in workplaces, and it’s one of the reasons why people love to work from home (although it definitely happens remotely, too).
What’s your stance on this?
I’d say that supportive team members are the ones that absolutely never play games.
They might be good with the boss and other staff, but that’s because they’re genuinely like that and not because they’re gunning for a promotion, bonuses, or whatever else people fight for. This is just a consequence for them and not a goal.
They also often have this next fantastic quality.
3) They are patient
If there’s one trait in my coworkers I love the most, it’s patience. I just can’t deal with impatient people, which is ironic because I’m pretty impatient myself.
I guess opposites do attract…
Because I’m typically so impatient, I try to have as much patience as I can with my colleagues. However, test me too much, and I’ll get to a boiling point.
What’s your experience on this topic? Do you value patient coworkers, or you couldn’t care less?
What about the following characteristic?
4) They treat their teammates with respect
Treating teammates with respect, regardless of differences in opinions, backgrounds, or roles, is something that should come as default. However, the real world is often something completely different.
I’m pretty sure you’ve seen, heard, or even experienced disrespectful behavior, to say the least.
Once you’re lucky enough to get coworkers (and managers) who value diversity and create an inclusive environment where everyone feels valued and heard, it’s like you’ve hit the jackpot.
To be respectful, people often have to have this next trait.
5) They are skilled communicators
Part of being a supportive and respectful colleague is to be a good listener and a skilled communicator. If coworkers can’t express themselves in a way everyone can understand, we have a problem.
Supportive team members also encourage open dialogue and express their thoughts and ideas clearly. They foster an environment where everyone feels comfortable sharing their opinions.
This includes providing constructive feedback and not being afraid to call a spade a spade.
In my experience, I’d rather prefer someone telling me bluntly that I’m doing something wrong than just brushing it off or, even worse, letting me embarrass myself.
And it doesn’t stop there, this next trait is also vital in a workspace.
6) They are adept at resolving issues
A supportive coworker actively contributes to problem-solving efforts within the team. They approach challenges with a solution-oriented mindset, seeking opportunities to find creative and effective resolutions.
They will hold your back when you’re having issues with other coworkers, customers, and even bosses.
Just ensure you don’t fall for futile interactions that could hurt your relationships with others, including your supportive colleagues.
One way to resolve such problems is to take the initiative.
7) They take initiative
If there’s something I don’t like, it’s complacent coworkers. You know the ones. They are in beta mode the whole time and basically do their work on autopilot. They do that for many underlying reasons, but it isn’t an excuse anyway.
On the other side are proactive coworkers that don’t sit around. They look for things to do, improve, and fix.
From my experience, the longer you stay at a company or position, the more complacent you become. That’s why I change positions, jobs, or whole careers every three years, basically.
If I stuck around at my first job, I’d probably be a CEO by now, but that’s not the end goal you should be striving for.
I strongly believe you should reinvent yourself occasionally to make life more interesting, promote personal growth, and discover new passions and abilities.
This brings me to my next point.
8) They have a positive attitude
For most people, it’s relatively easy to have a positive attitude when times are good. But what about challenging times?
Can you inspire and motivate others by focusing on solutions rather than dwelling on problems?
Having a positive attitude is a mindset that can be cultivated with practice and conscious effort.
Here are my best tips to develop and maintain this important feature:
- Surround yourself with positive influences (books, music, people, podcasts)
- Instead of dwelling on problems, focus on solutions
- Embrace failures as learning opportunities
- Take care of your physical, mental, and emotional well-being
A positive outlook on life will also help you develop this next trait.
9) They are flexible and adaptable
Let me start this by sharing a little bit about myself again. I started my work life a long time ago.
That start was marked by stress and anxiety, mostly from being unable to adapt quickly and adequately.
Granted, I was relatively young and out of college, but still, I think I could have handled these beginning steps much better.
But, hindsight, right.
Now that I’m older, I’m much more relaxed and embrace change because I understand that change and evolution are inevitable, even welcomed.
Any supportive team member will also have these qualities and be willing to adjust their approach or plans to accommodate new circumstances.
10) They are willing to share their knowledge
Another important trait that should probably be higher up on this list is the willingness to share knowledge.
Supportive team members willingly share their expertise, insights, and resources with others. They contribute to the growth and development of their teammates by providing guidance and support.
They don’t look at their coworkers and colleagues as adversaries. On the contrary, they look at them as their equals and jump at the chance to mentor others.
They also love to do this next thing.
11) They celebrate your successes
We have only two more traits to go, and one of them is to acknowledge and celebrate the achievements of others, no matter how small they are.
Supportive colleagues take pride in your accomplishments (even more than you!) and use them as motivation for future initiatives. Celebrating successes also helps reinforce a positive mindset and boosts self-confidence.
It’s good for the team and the company, even if they couldn’t care less.
From my experience, recognizing and appreciating the efforts and accomplishments of others fosters a culture of honor, praise, and celebration within the team. All very important things.
Celebrating success also goes hand-in-hand with the last trait on this list.
12) They express gratitude
And lastly, an important trait many people, not just coworkers, lack is gratitude.
I can attest that going from a workplace where I was taken for granted to a workplace where I was thanked at the end of the day is like night and day in terms of my attitude, work energy, and the general feeling of self-worth.
I can’t believe how hard it is in some workplaces to hear these two little words – Thank you. It’s such an easy way to express gratitude and appreciation for the contributions of your teammates and subordinates.
Supportive team members are well aware of this fact, and they express gratitude often and freely.
Are you a supportive team member? What about your colleagues? Do they support you and others in your workplace?
Is the team dynamic good, or is there more that needs to be done to improve it?