Professional Feature: Collegiality


About The Professional Feature 'Collegiality'

Collegiality means that you help and support your colleagues when necessary and take their needs and interests into account. This way you make a positive contribution to the (work) atmosphere in the department and the organization.

What does collegiality mean in concrete terms?

Imagine: you and your colleague are having a nice chat at the coffee machine. You tell him that in the coming meeting you want to make a proposal for a more efficient way of working, so that less paper is used. Good for the environment and the wallet of the organization. Your colleague listens to your story with interest. Tuesday afternoon two o'clock, the chairman opens the meeting by going through the agenda. One of the points is a proposal for a new way of working that considerably reduces paper consumption, submitted by... your colleague. A colleague who makes a good impression with an idea from someone else, that's not what you call collegial behavior. What is collegiality then? Three examples:

- You have a day off once every two weeks on Friday. One day your colleague will come to you. She has a wedding and she asks you if you want to work that Friday, so that she can go to the wedding. You don't mind that.
- It is almost five o'clock. You are already finishing your working day when your colleague calls in a panic. He is busy with a briefing that has to be sent out today. He asks you if you want to help him, because the mail room is almost closing. You call your eating appointment that you will come a little later because you understand the difficult situation your colleague is in.
- Your colleague became ill at work. He feels pretty bad. You offer him to take him home by car, so he doesn't have to use public transportation.

What exactly collegial behavior entails differs per organization

It depends on the written and unwritten rules of your working environment. But in general you are collegial if you:

- Help your colleagues when needed.
- Are willing to take over work from colleagues.
- Sees what colleagues need to do their job well.
- Interest shows in the work and private situation of colleagues.

Which competencies are involved?

- Empathy: You listen to the ideas, opinions or questions of your colleagues and you try to understand their point of view or situation.
- Flexibility: You are able to adapt to changing circumstances.
- Helpfulness: You can respond to the wishes and needs of others.
- Tact: You have a good feeling for what is considered appropriate, correct or desired in a certain situation. You act cautiously and carefully in difficult situations.
- Anticipate: You estimate the relationships between yourself and your colleagues, as well as your colleagues in different situations, taking into account possible sensitivities.

When will you break through?

It is nice if you get along well with your colleagues, but you keep on talking if you are helping others all day long and not working on your own work. Even when you are holding a colleague who is not capable, you are not doing well.

Being a colleague doesn't mean that you should always be accommodating and grow into a compulsive jackass. Research shows that the people who are most respected don't compromise when it comes to fundamental values or personal traits. They are assertive and set clear limits. However, they can be accommodating and empathize with others when needed. It is important to find a balance between your own interests and those of your colleagues.

How do you demonstrate collegiality when applying?

An example: you apply for the position of teacher in secondary education. 'Collegiate' is one of your personal characteristics, as the vacancy text states. How do you prove that? You can best do this using the STAR method. An example:

As a teacher you sometimes have to deal with children who can really get the blood out of your nails. It is very nice if you can blow off steam at a colleague's during the break. Because I know how pleasant that is, I always offer a listening ear to colleagues. In this way you help each other and you can manage unpleasant situations. Recently, for example, a young colleague came roaring into the teachers' room. One of his students was completely flipped when he was summoned to leave the classroom. I let my colleague tell his story and by the minute you saw him calm down. When the break was over, he laughed again and started his next lesson calmly and confidently.

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