I’m not a big fan of acronyms, but I created the acronym REAL – responsibility, expectations, accountability, learning – to try to describe what I think right relationships at work should look like. I recognize that very few of our relationships at work will develop into the goal of interdependent partnerships, but that can never be an excuse for us to not continually strive to prepare ourselves and others to be increasingly more interdependent with and less dependent upon each other.
Assuming full responsibility for your performance and citizenship behaviors at work is the foundation of interdependence. You can never be truly interdependent if your behaviors force others to assume responsibility for you. Here are a few suggestions for how we can master our current responsibilities, improve the jobs that we do, do more than what’s expected by helping others, and care about our purpose:
1. Understand your organization’s purpose, why it exists to do what it does. Don’t expect to find this written in an official document – you might have to think hard about this yourself
2. Understand why you were selected for your position over others
3. Understand how your work contributes to the organization’s final products and services, and why your work matters
4. Understand when and how your performance is measured and how it is evaluated. Make a list of the daily behaviors you need to exhibit to exceed your metrics
6. As you master your current responsibilities, look for ways to improve the work you do. Find the courage to communicate your suggestions in the form of solutions rather than complaints
7. As you master and now improve your current responsibilities, look for ways you can help others with their responsibilities
8. Be trustworthy as well as trusting of others
10. If you are not satisfied with your work, identify the root cause and try to fix it. Commitment is a powerful driver of performance and citizenship behavior, and you will never fully commit if you are not satisfied with your work.
I’m not suggesting this list is compressive, but it’s a good start. Have I left out anything important? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below!