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How to improve your own job satisfaction

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Are you dissatisfied at work? You aren’t alone.

Two workplace studies were conducted in the Spring of 2012. In the first, 65% of American and Canadian respondents indicated that they were either somewhat or completely dissatisfied at their jobs.

The second asked what actions employees were considering. In this case, 32% of those asked indicated that they were hoping to leave their current job and find new work.

That means, roughly half of unhappy employees have no plan for change. They’re resigned to stay in a job that, while unfulfilling, at least pays the bills.

Current research on employee engagement shows that relationships matter. Employee satisfaction is influenced most by relationships with immediate managers and connections with a direct workgroup or team.

Here are three tips on how to improve your own job satisfaction, and that of your colleagues, by focusing on workplace relationships.

Start from today

Set past mistakes and strained relationships aside — today. If you could wipe the slate clean, what would you do differently from now on?

One way to get started is to make a list of simple things you want to do differently. You don’t need to make bold declarations (unless you want to) and your colleagues don’t need to meet you halfway, at least not initially. Focus on your own actions and attitudes and let everything else fall into the rear view mirror.

Ask for help

Renowned business speaker Donna Messer has great advice for entrepreneurs — “buy your weakness and sell your strengths.”

Be generous in how you lend your talents to others and ask for help in areas where you’re weak. Most of the time, performance reviews focus on how to improve weaknesses. But your managers and teammates seek you out to benefit from your strengths. Find others who complement your weaknesses with their abilities and see how you can help each other. It will make you both stronger performers.

Connect with your team

Employees report a complete attitude shift once they realize their manager or colleagues think of them at times when there isn’t more work to do, and a quick call is a refreshing break from endless e-mails. So consider using commute times to conduct a five-minute check in with colleagues you rarely see face to face. Making this a weekly or monthly connection has been shown to increase job satisfaction and creativity.

What you bring to your colleagues in terms of attitude and generosity determines the type of interaction you get back.

By making small changes in how you work you may not only improve your own situation, but also help others who are struggling in their own career funk.

Lisa Taylor is president of Challenge Factory.

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