10 Agreements for a Happy and Well Functioning Team (downloadable pdf) by Vu Lee for Nonprofit with Balls. Some rules of the coworking game that could be implemented in nearly any work setting.
Agreement 1, We will assume the best intentions in one another: I consider this the Cardinal Agreement. If someone makes a mistake the first time, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. Yeah, there are jerks out there, but really, most of the time, people mean well. None of us are perfect, and the world is full of chances for us all to screw up. Let’s be generous with each other. I also find it to be a lot lighter a burden to think people are well-meaning. It is so much easier on our souls to think, “John didn’t say good morning back to me. I hope everything is OK with him. Maybe he’s just having a bad day.” Versus, “He ignored me on purpose! Curse him! May his field remain fallow, his livestock weak and barren, his progeny afflicted with gingivitis unto the seventh generation!”
Agreement 2: We will not get pissed at anyone for failing to fulfill expectations we never clearly set: I’ve seen this happen over and over, and heck, I’m guilty of it too from time to time. We assume that everyone has the same information and values as we do. Then we throw a hissy fit when something doesn’t happen the way we want. One day I got irritated at a coworker for escaping as soon as an event was over, leaving me to clean up by myself. What a terrible, lazy, thoughtless, inconsiderate jerk, I thought; ugly too. Then I realized, Dammit, I never asked him to help with take-down. And then I went back to Agreement 1 and think, Well, maybe he left right away because it’s his son’s birthday and he’s going home to surprise him. Let’s stop assuming things and just communicate clearly our expectations and requests.