When completing allocated tasks in the workplace, you will find yourself interacting with various stakeholders to achieve both individual and organisational goals.
Fostering positive working relationships through these interactions will make your WIL experience much more enjoyable and productive. Developing strong working relationships requires you to establish trust, demonstrate respect and collaborate. The key is to craft your professional identity ensuring your communication is purposeful, and is tailored to your audience.
In the workplace, co-workers including managers will often prefer to be addressed by their first name. In some organisations, depending on culture, operations or size, there can be a greater degree of formality to signify respect and status. For example, in the legal world judges are addressed as ‘The Honourable’ followed by their surname. While in a medical setting, surgeons and doctors are addressed as ‘Doctor’ followed by their surname.
It is also quite common for managers to have an ‘open door policy’, which means employees can approach them for discussion whenever they have a question or an issue. This is because it’s OK to ask for help, discuss challenges, and be accountable for your mistakes, as it allows your team to determine the best solution to keep moving forward. Therefore, employees and students undertaking WIL activities are expected to be proactive in starting dialogues with their supervisor or team, rather than waiting for someone to come to them.
Western Australia. Department of Education and Training. & Australia. Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. Employability skills and workplace culture in Australia: a guide for new migrants to Western Australia planning to enter the work. 2008
West, Barbara and Frances T. Murphy. G’Day Boss: Australian Culture and the Workplace. Abbotsford: Tribus Lingua, 2007
Understanding Australian Workplace Cultures: Thriving in the Australian workplace
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