Rules of Engagement


Relibaiblity is the number one in the list of Rules of Engagement.  It's pretty simple, when you make a commitment stick to it.

Think before you make a commitment, ensure you have the time, capacity and ability to do whatever you have agreed upon.

Sure, things can get in the way.  Life has a habit of doing that.  Be sure to let people know what has happened and why there may need to be a change in plans.  Give as much notice as possible and ensure the follow up plans are doable on your side.

Courtesy and Empathy

Emotional intelligence and empathy are vital tools for successful relationships across all occupations at all levels, in all situations.

It's easy when everything is going well.  The real challenge is working with people you are not comfortable with (for whatever reason), or when things go wrong and everyone is under pressure.

When the wheels fall off - first, stay calm.  Consider other people's situations (ask questions without making judgements or being critical).  Set the ground rules for a discussion.  Lead with direct, non-judgemental questions, listen with an open mind, stay calm, seek out underlying issues that may be impacting.   Create an environment of trust and genuine enquiry.

  • Look at the problem from other perspectives, put yourself in the other person's shoes.
  • Get as much information about what happened and why (without blame) and depending upon the magnitude of the problem, form a team of 3 to resolve the why it happened, how to fix it, how to prevent it happening again. 
  • Importantly, take into consideration possible knock on impacts.  3 x 3 teams to review and resolve each aspect.

What happens when you don't feel comfortable working with someone?

  • Ask yourself why you dislike the person.  Click through to an interesting article that provides some relevant and useful examples.  Source:
  • Once you have established the underlying reason for your dislike, you can take the appropriate action.
  • Over the years, I have found that simply talking with someone and getting their perspective on life and what's happening with them can explain a lot and smooth the way for a better working relationship. 
  • Fear is usually the biggest barrier to resolving workplace problems.  Especially with co-workers.  When a co-worker is blocking you from accessing information or somehow making your job more difficult, sit down quietly and work out exactly what it is you need from your co-worker and why.  Be calm and thoughtful.  Talk to someone you trust if you need to; be objective and clarify what you need.  Then, ask your co-worker for what you need and if they say no, ask why. 
  • An example maybe where your co-worker has decided you are not "authorised" to see some information that they have access to.  A calm conversation will easily ascertain whether this is the motivation.  They may fear that you will use the information in a way they feel is inappropriate, or using the information they feel will encroach on their role.  The simplest way to resolve this problem is to have a conversation with your Manager.  If your Manager agrees that you should have the information, then you should ask your Manager to let your co-worker know.

Integrity and Honesty

Act with integrity and honesty as a starting point for everything you do.  And as Jordan B Petersen said, "if you can't tell the truth, don't lie".  A lie creates future problems.  Make a conscious decision about how you respond to difficult issues or issues where  telling "a white lie" will make everyone's life easier (not necessarily  better).  

Lying upsets the balance in your mind.  The truth may hurt sometimes, but it is a healing hurt.  How you deliver the truth can make the difference between a constructive healing and a destructive experience.  Be true to yourself.

Even when people disagree with you, they will respect you; and, more often than not will be prepared to find a mutually workable solution.

Be Brave. Admit when you are mistaken, apologise and fix the problem.