Posted on: January 24th, 2011 by Jen Mueller

It’s damage control time in Chicago for both the Bears and their quarterback Jay Cutler.  In case you’ve missed it – Cutler left Sunday’s NFC Championship game with a knee injury. Players across the league, media and fans criticized Cutler’s lack of toughness. His teammates rushed to his defense but ultimately it was too little too late for Cutler.  He’s embroiled in a controversy – one that could have been prevented.

Getty Images/ Talk Sporty to Me Blog

The injury isn’t the real issue – it’s the tipping point in the Cutler saga.  For years the stories around Cutler included accounts of his lack of respect for his teammates and his unwillingness to engage the media and fans.  Some people will argue that it’s his job to play football and he doesn’t have to care about anything else, but the current controversy proves otherwise.  If Cutler had a higher “likeability” factor he would be getting the benefit of the doubt right now.  If he had shown better body language, made more of an effort to connect, and taken more of an interested in his teammates this wouldn’t be such a big story.

Stop and think about those 3 things in the context of you office or workplace.  What vibes do you give off at work?  Do you make an effort to get to know your co-workers? Are you engaged in your workplace or going through the motions?

Much like Jay Cutler, we are all a part of a team.  Even sole proprietors rely on outside help.  It’s much easier to gain the trust, respect and likeability of your co-workers and those around you if you take the time to connect.

I was in Chicago last week.  I know what fans were saying about Cutler and it wasn’t good.  He doesn’t have a good reputation and this week it caught up with him.  Don’t make the same mistake.

Here are the things Cutler failed to do that you can turn into action items this week:

  1. Control your body language. Hanging your head or appearing to be too nonchalant frustrates people working hard around you.
  2. Make an effort to connect. Going out for lunch or drinks every day isn’t necessary but taking time to get to know your co-workers goes a long way.
  3. Show an interest. Our society is focused on results but we forget that it’s people who lead to those results.  Engage in a conversation; establish a common interest outside of work (like a favorite sports team.)

Remember people work with those – and stick up for those – they know, like and trust.  Make a conscience effort to work on making those connections this week.

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