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Engaging with Your Colleagues

We’ve all had colleagues that we like and get along with. I’ve had several. Of course…I enjoy talking about those experiences.

-The Friendly Ukrainian-

I mentioned him in our last newsletter. He was kind, friendly, positive, and engaging.

I met him in 1998 on a trip to Ukraine to visit a friend. He was a ton of fun. We laughed, we talked, and we shared openly about what we’d heard about each other’s countries. I soon realized that both the US and the Soviets had their own versions of propaganda.

-Life changes-

Over a period of the next couple of years, I decided to move to Ukraine. Viktor (whom I speak about above) ended up being my teammate in the

organization that I worked with. I worked alongside him for 4 years.

  • He was patient with me

  • He helped me to learn

  • He supported me

  • He didn’t ‘let me off the hook’, but challenged me

  • He helped me learn about Ukraine

  • He helped me learn about the organization I worked with

  • He didn’t criticize me but challenged me to do better than I was on some key things

-Application for today? -

I think we could all learn a lot from Viktor. He could have easily pointed out all the things I was doing wrong – from misunderstandings about the culture, to major language mistakes, etc.

But – Viktor was ‘FOR’ me.

Can you do that for one of your colleagues? Can you be ‘FOR’ them?

Can you point out the good yet challenge them to be better?

Can you encourage them, but still be honest and not blow smoke while you are doing it?

Can you sacrifice some of your time and energy even if it’s not convenient to help them to develop?

-Wrapping up

In the end, Viktor was one of the best colleagues I’ve ever had. And we remain friends to this day. He helped me to navigate 4 years of living life in Ukraine. Those were 4 of the best years of my life.

And…I owe a lot to my good friend and good colleague Viktor for that.


The first step in bringing out the best in your team is to get to know their talents and strengths.

Cloverleaf has 9 assessments so you can learn about your individual and team attributes.

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