Navigating Office Culture

Nonverbal Communication

Actions speak louder than words. We’ve all heard that expression, but what does it mean? Learn why nonverbal communication is more important than what you say.


Learning to Listen

What characteristics in your opinion define an outstanding listener? If you ask a group of leaders, ‘What do you do to be a really good listener?’ most of them
will say, ‘Well, just quit talking.’ That is sort of good advice, but when my fellow cofounder at Zenger Folkman, Jack Zenger, and I did an article on great listeners for
the Harvard Business Review last year, we focused on whether sponges or trampolines are better listeners. Sponge listeners just sit back and absorb information, while trampolines bounce back.

Identifying and Addressing Subtle Bias in the Workplace

As progressive as many workplaces are, interactions with coworkers can be trivial. Learn how to identify and respond to microaggressions in the office.


Managing One’s Professional Reputation

Your reputation precedes you. Make sure you’re building your rep in a positive direction.


Managing Up

Discover how you can develop effective relationships with your managers for successful career building.

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Navigating Office Culture

  • 1.  Navigating Office Culture

    Posted 11-14-2018 06:08 PM
    Edited by Tirza Austin 12-27-2018 05:28 PM
    This is a space to discuss navigating office culture. Please share your thoughts and questions here.

    Tirza Austin Aff.M.ASCE
    Collaborate Coordinator
    Reston VA
    (703)791-2794 EXT 1

  • 2.  RE: Navigating Office Culture

    Posted 11-26-2018 09:03 AM
    Edited by Tirza Austin 01-16-2019 10:04 PM
    Leading by example is difficult.  It works, but realize it is a long-term commitment.  Treat your coworkers with respect and kindness.  You are an engineer (and at some point are or will be a PE) and you have authority from the state.  When you need to be firm and exercise that authority, your coworkers will be responsive because you have developed a mutual respect over time.  Think of how your actions today will impact your request for a favor when you are in a jam down the road.  Don't get bogged down in office politics and drama, keep it professional, but lighthearted at the same time.

    Chad Morrison P.E., M.ASCE
    Professional Engineer
    Greenville RI

  • 3.  RE: Navigating Office Culture

    Posted 01-22-2019 11:40 AM
    One thing I've had to keep in mind is that culture can (and sometimes should) change.  I've witnessed an office culture where offensive sarcasm was generally accepted and although it made most people uncomfortable, no one did anything about it. It took many discussions with coworkers to realize no one liked it and that we shouldn't have to deal with it and to raise our concerns. That experience has helped me realize that in situations where I feel uncomfortable, others probably feel the same way and helped me see the importance of standing up for myself or for others when something isn't right. Just because there is a generally accepted culture doesn't mean that it is right and anyone has the right to do something about it wether it be involving HR or addressing the concerns with management, etc. Unfortunately this doesn't guarantee that the culture will change but if you've done what you can and still don't feel right about it, maybe it's time to search for an office with a better environment.

    Michelle Haacke A.M.ASCE
    Project Manager

  • 4.  RE: Navigating Office Culture

    Posted 01-23-2019 09:33 PM
    Edited by Tirza Austin 01-23-2019 09:37 PM
    Really enjoying reading this discussion. I am a graduate student in construction and I am sure this will help me mentally adjust to the work environment when I go the job. I work in the graduate office, where people from different nationalities are working together. I have to say I am having a good time navigating, especially changing my stereotype. You know you have a predefined opinion about some culture but realizing that it is not what it looks like makes you more professional.

    Aakash Parajuli S.M.ASCE
    Tuscaloosa AL
    [email protected]