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OK, so you bring in cakes on your birthday and you make a top-notch cup of coffee. But what other personal qualities are highly valued by your fellow social workers and other colleagues?

If you work full time, you probably spend more hours with your workmates than you do with most other people in your life. Therefore, it's important to build positive relationships with them. Here are our top 10 tips for being a star co-worker...

1. Be a team player

Teamwork is important in many walks of life. In social work job roles it's absolutely essential. Don't be a lone wolf. Make sure you understand the dynamics of your team, how you fit into it and the best ways to interact positively with other team members.

2. Listen and learn

Respect your colleagues and they will respect you. Listen to their ideas and learn from their knowledge and experience.

3. Know yourself

Being aware of your own strengths, weaknesses and motivations will help you understand your co-workers and how they see you.

4. Communicate well

Don't keep things to yourself. Share your thoughts and ideas in an open, honest way. This will not only keep your colleagues 'in the loop', but also make them feel valued. Information sharing is vital in social work to ensure clients received 'joined-up' care.

5. Stay professional

It's all too easy to let personal feelings and attitudes get mixed up with your work. Try to leave them at the office door. Stay focused on the job and maintain your professionalism.

6. Don't be a pushover

However much you want to be liked, your colleagues won't respect you if you're too obliging. Be polite but firm to ensure they don't take advantage of your good nature.

7. Avoid favouritism

You may naturally feel a strong affinity with one particular colleague, but try not to make it obvious and exclude others. It could encourage rivalries.

8. Don't gossip

Office gossip can have a negative effect on morale and alienate you from colleagues. It also erodes trust between co-workers, which is vital in a closely-knit social work team.

9. Be positive but sensitive

Optimism and enthusiasm are valuable qualities for a social worker. But you need to strike the right balance between being upbeat and respecting the feelings of your colleagues, who will often be dealing with challenging situations or setbacks.

10. Hands off

And finally... never, ever 'borrow' someone's pen, steal their stapler or help yourself to the food they have stored in the fridge. These universal laws of office etiquette should never be transgressed, even in an emergency!
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