Nature or Nuture?


The degree in which you interact with colleagues may be driven by your natural interest to interact with others (nature) or the culture of your organization (nurture).  Each of these situations alone can significantly increase or reduce the degree in which you interact with your colleagues.

Imagine the impact to your visibility when you do not possess a natural interest to interact with colleagues and your organization’s culture does not support it – neither nature nor nurture are working in your favor.  When you possess a strong interest to interact with others and the culture of your organization supports such interaction, it’s magic!

Œ–  No time to interact with others + low interest.  Your interaction with others is limited to meetings and conference calls.  You are not interested in interacting with others and you justify that your low interaction is due to the lack of time you have at work to do anything but keep your “nose to the grindstone.”  You are at risk of becoming invisible in and irrelevant to your organization.

–  No time to interact with others + high interest.  While you possess a sincere interest to interact with others, the demands of your job and the culture of your organization are preventing you from doing so.  You are likely very frustrated by the requirements of your job, which is forcibly sequestering you in your office or workstation.  Unless you find a way to satisfy your interest to interact with others, your frustration will grow into dissatisfaction, affecting your work performance in negative ways.

–  A lot of time to interact with others + low interest.  Your job or work environment allows you many opportunities (as stated earlier, this is not unproductive time) to interact with others, yet you have little interest in doing so.  You are at risk of being viewed as an office hermit – reclusive, standoffish, and, at worst, misanthropic.  Your colleagues will demonstrate little patience for your behavior and you will quickly become irrelevant to your organization.

–  A lot of time to interact with others + high interest.  Your organization provides many opportunities to interact with colleagues and you take full advantage of these opportunities.  The high degree to which you interact with colleagues is driven by your interest in doing so.  You recognize the benefits of interacting with colleagues (i.e., increased knowledge, influence, productivity) and take advantage of your organization’s environment to do so.

What Are the Benefits of Being Accessible?

One of the seven Raise Your Visibility and Value visibility accelerators is being accessible, defined as the degree to which colleagues can reach you and benefit from the interaction.

Being accessible benefits everyone. Ram Reddy is a Director, IT Operations for Harte Hanks, one of the world’s largest marketing services companies. Despite the daily challenges he faces in his busy workplace, Ram is committed to being accessible to those who reach out to him.

“Being accessible is a key part of collaboration. Although many of us have offices that physically separate us from one another, it is important to act as though there are no walls. If a colleague needs me, I want her to be able to get to me. Likewise, I like getting out of my office and rather than email a colleague a question, ask him my question or follow-up with him in person. This also allows my colleague to access me in ways that help them.”

When you work to be accessible to your colleagues, you are the one who truly benefits because you:

  • identify issues and problems earlier, leading to quicker resolution, enhancing productivity, and reducing frustration.
  • increase your influence in your organization as you become a “go-to” person who is known for helping others solve problems.
  • create opportunities for yourself to participate in activities that are meaningful to your career and your organization.
  • bolster your reputation in your organization and industry by modeling behavior that your colleagues can emulate.