Light a Fire! 4 Ways to Inspire Yourself (and Complacent Coworkers)

You know the type…it may even be you.

That certain individual in the workplace who seems to get by on doing the least amount possible. It is frustrating when you’re working harder and they’re getting the same amount of credit. Although rare, it’s painful to attempt to distinguish yourself if everyone is assigned virtually the same job.That being said, in order to grow in your personal workspace and prove your value amidst co-workers and omnipotent bosses, you must actively seek out tasks, projects and ideas.

Armed and Ready

When faced with lazy and defiant co-workers, there is only so much energy that can be expelled into making them tolerable to deal with. Since some of us are extremely ambitious and learn best by doing things independently, we are inspired on our terms. Others require being told and shown. Which is where showcasing your particular earnest for a job yields varying results depending on who you are dealing with.

I’m a firm believer in kids needing to be inspired by someone or something in order to achieve things in life. The same can be said for adults who end up in a work environment that may not be their calling. People generally think well of and enjoy talking about themselves. You can learn immense amounts with active listening. Too many of us can’t wait to spit our next thought out only to have missed the punchline.

After working a number of random jobs, I’ve learned that tapping into another person’s interest is an easy and promising way to gain their trust. Through that connection you are able to find a way to get them more ‘in the game’ at work. Humor, when used correctly (no racist, sexist or grossly foul jokes); food, (ensuring that allergic concerns are addressed); discussing family pets and giving genuine compliments all work towards your success. Lazy workers dispel ‘against the grain’ personality types because they raise the bar for what’s expected at work and while change is a vital part of life, we tend to resist it. Disturb the stagnant water that is workplace politics and be prepared for a ripple effect.

Be the Bigger Person

Anytime you combine multiple opinions, attitudes and personal beliefs there will be an unpredictable workplace dynamic. Respect peers and try to acknowledge their perspective, especially if you don’t agree. Being open to new ideas makes you easy to talk to and pleasant to work with. Poo-pooing ideas, straight-up ignoring or tattling on sub-par employees are not ways to make friends, in fact, it will label you as an untrustworthy know-it-all. Fight fire with water, and try to smooth over any previous disasters with co-workers. Take pride in not letting workplace gossip and touchy personalities get under your skin. It works in your favour to set poor communication straight. Just ask for a few minutes of your ‘enemy’s’ time to state your point and request a better relationship from here on in. Make certain that you separate any issues at work from personal time with your family.

Gold Star

If you have a creative mind and a willing boss consider implementing a rewards program in your workplace. This could be anything from Esso/Airmiles points to Free Lunch Fridays to a case of Heineken at the end of the work week. It is popular advertising knowledge that people are motivated to act on the basis of personal benefit. It is far too easy to get locked into a daily routine that satisfies, which means that little perks add up to happier, more productive employees. Using a ‘karma jar’ or donating towards a charity or local animal shelter will formulate working bonds that connect people for the purpose of something bigger than them.

Use Your Tools

Radiating positivity is one way to infect a workplace full of good vibes. Put your weight behind your work. If you have the goods to back up confronting a peer about their lack of effort they are forced to at the very least, reflect on their behaviour. Try to include your peers on projects that could use some assistance. Pop your head in to congratulate co-workers on their idea to shorten the annual report or make it a digital copy only. Bosses are wowed by people who produce the maximum amount of work with the least amount of hassle. It is energy-savvy to focus on the betterment of your career path and side projects rather than workplace drama.

A Mindful Thought

There will be some battles that you simply can’t win, but you will always learn a new method or means to succeed the next time around. With careers changing every 5 years for the average employee, you will surely face a few challenging fellow workers. Above all, be a forward-thinker. Concern yourself with what makes sense to you and what can make your work day that much brighter.


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Breanna is an Applied Communications Graduate currently residing in Vancouver B.C. She has taken her communication skills to a new domain and is testing the waters of teaching driving while writing and dog walking in her spare time.


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