It’s back to school time. Finally, parents can return to a schedule without teenager late nights in the middle of the week or requests to go to the pool during a conference call.
We can go back to being the grownups that we are.
Maybe. We all know that the office at times can resemble a throwback to the playground or the middle school lunch table—but it’s time to be the grownup there, too.
[SURVEY REPORT: The state of internal communication]
Here are some signs that you are already there:
1. You can have a great working relationship without being friends or having lunch together. Not everyone has to be a good friend or someone you want to hang out with after work. It may even be better that way.
2. You finally realize it’s not all about you. The business must stay profitable, others’ needs have to be considered, and not everything happens according to your timetable. This is an ensemble cast-not your one-person show.
3. If someone disagrees with you, that’s not a personal attack. It’s OK to agree to disagree. To each his own.
4. You can share your views without shutting down the room. Likewise, another point of view isn’t a reason to make it all about you. Learn how to give your opinion without pouting, yelling, or derailing progress.
5. You hear some juicy gossip about a co-worker and you run and tell … no one. Don’t be a contributor to (nor a high-volume consumer of) the office grapevine. It hurts your reputation more than theirs. (You’ve known this since high school.)
6. You’ve learned to listen more than you talk. You don’t talk just to listen to your own voice. Less is more. For you interviewers who ask the candidate two questions and then talk for 45 minutes: You’ve got it backward.
7. When something goes wrong, you don’t throw everyone else under the bus. You can see your own mistakes or misses and don’t blame everyone else in sight. It’s a learning “opportunity,” remember? Repeat.
8. You bask in applause-for others. You can share credit and enjoy the successes of other team members. Look at that Jennifer doing amazing work.
9. The highs aren’t too high, and the lows aren’t too low. You know that there are both peaks and valleys. You don’t think you are superhuman after a success. When something goes wrong, you know it’s not the end of the world. Level it out, and your co-workers will thank you for it.
10. You get that the jokes you heard from your basketball buddies aren’t gonna work at the office. You know where to draw the line on jokes and how to conduct yourself at the office holiday party. Forgetting you’re still at work isn’t worth it, and you know it.
It’s OK not to want to grow up, but let’s keep middle school drama out of the office, please. That’ll make it so much easier for everyone.
Patti Johnson is the CEO of PeopleResults, a consultancy that guides organizations and individuals to “start the wave” of change. A version of this article first appeared on the company’s Current blog.