How to Professionally Isolate Yourself in 5 Easy Ways

Raise your hand if you've ever heard some of these comments around your office or place of business.

“Professional relationship building is for the birds.”

“What's the point of working on our people skills if all we need to do is get the job done?”

“After all, we're not being paid to care about a bunch of people, right?”

“Let's just mind our own business, keep our heads down, and power through.”

It's important to point out that people are an organization's greatest resource. Millions of dollars are spent every year and countless surveys are conducted in order to gauge the level of employee satisfaction and professional growth, but sometimes we catch ourselves engaging in behavior that somehow isolates us from the people with whom we interact in our professions.

It has been said that knowing is half the battle. Knowing the ways in which we professionally isolate ourselves can create a sense of awareness and can help us to foster better relationships with those people with whom we work. Take a look at the following list and reflect on how many of these ways might be integrated into your own life (and that you didn't even realize).

1. "I know that already." - While it's tempting to tell someone that you already know something, be sure that you do it in such a way that it doesn't shut them down. Instead of telling the other person that you already know that, consider telling them that while you may have learned about this before, you are open to learning a new approach to this idea.

2. "I have more experience than you, therefore I know more than you." - Nobody likes to work with the person who brags about how many degrees they've earned or years of experience that they gathered on the job. Highlight your experience in a way that informs your colleagues that you are qualified for the job, but be sure that you use your prior knowledge as a foundation for all the new knowledge that you will gain in any future projects.

3. "It's all about me." - The "Me Monster" can rear its head when you least expect it. While every person is unique, we must all remember that we are on this journey together, and that we must actively collaborate with a variety of people in order to get the job done. Working collaboratively ensures that every person's importance and value are used to help the group achieve at a higher level.

4. "Can you repeat yourself? I wasn't paying attention to what you were saying." - In our hectic day-to-day routine, we tend to get lost in multitasking. Checking email on your phone, for instance while conversing with a colleague is very rude and tells the other person that what they are saying is not important enough to warrant your full attention. Be mindful that you fully engage others in your interactions with them and never try to do too much at one time. If an email is that important, politely ask the person to wait while you reply or just tell them that you'll come back to finish the conversation once you send that reply.

5. "I am set in my ways, and I don't care to adapt or change." - You can't teach an old dog new tricks or can you? We all get comfortable in our own ways to the point where any deviation or change can cause us to feel apprehensive and on edge. Each of us has arrived at where we are in our career paths due to a specific chain of decisions that we made. While these decisions are important to our careers, they should not become the anchor that drags us down when an opportunity for adopting a new best practice comes up.

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Chris Brown

Chris Brown is an Instructional Designer for the Development Team at Rasmussen College in Oak Brook, IL. He has worked in the field of Education for more than 10 years. Chris also has a M.S. in Educational Technology and has been with Rasmussen College since 2009.

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