How You Know You’re Exhibiting Grown-Up Behavior at Work

It’s back to school time, kids. Finally, you parents can return to a schedule without teenager late nights in the middle of the week or requests to go to the pool during your conference call.

We can go back to being the grown-ups that we are.

Maybe. We all know that the office can be a replay of the playground or the middle school lunch table. But, it’s time to be the grown up there too.

10 signs you are a grown-up at work

Here are some signs that you are already there:

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  1. You can have a great working relationship without being friends or having lunch. Not everyone has to be a good friend or someone you want to hang out with after work. It may even be better that way.
  2. You finally realize it’s not all about you. Yes, the business has to be profitable, others needs have to be considered and not everything happens on your timetable. This is an ensemble cast – not just your movie.
  3. Someone can disagree with you and it’s not a personal attack. It’s OK to agree to disagree. To each his own.
  4. Likewise, you can share your views without shutting down the room. Another point of view isn’t a reason to make it all about you. Learn how to give your opinion without pouting, yelling or derailing progress.
  5. You hear some juicy gossip about a co-worker and you run and tell – no one. Don’t be a contributor to the office grapevine. It hurts your reputation more than theirs. And, you’ve known this since high school.
  6. You’ve learned to listen more than you talk. You don’t talk just to listen to your own voice. Less is more. And, you interviewers who ask the candidate two questions and then talk for 45 minutes, you’ve got it exactly backwards.
  7. When something goes wrong, you don’t throw everyone else under the bus. You can see your own mistakes or misses and don’t blame everyone else in sight. It’s a learning “opportunity,” remember? Repeat.
  8. You bask in the applause — of others. You can share credit and enjoy the successes of other team members. Look at that Jennifer doing amazing work!
  9. The highs aren’t too high and the lows aren’t too low. You know that there are both peaks and valleys. You don’t think you are super human after a success. And, when something goes wrong, you know it’s not the end of the world. Level it out and your coworkers will thank you for it.
  10. You get that the jokes you heard from your basketball buddies aren’t gonna work at the office. You know where to draw the line on jokes and how to conduct yourself at the office holiday party. It’s not worth it and you know it.

It’s OK to never want to grow up, but let’s keep middle school drama out of the office, please. It’s so much easier for everyone.

This was originally published on PeopleResult’s Current blog.

Patti Johnson is the CEO of PeopleResults, a change and organizational development consulting firm she founded in 2004. She is the author of newly released "Make Waves: Be the One to Start Change at Work and in Life." Patti and her team advise clients such as PepsiCo, Microsoft, 7-Eleven, Accenture, Frito-Lay and many others on creating positive change in their leaders and organizations. Previously a Senior Executive at Accenture. Patti is an instructor on change for SMU Executive Education and for the Bush Institute Women’s Initiative, as well as a keynote speaker on change and leadership.