It’s Thanksgiving week—a week where we show appreciation. And it’s a good time to remember that the people we work with are not perfect.
Our bosses? Not perfect. Our companies? Not perfect.
But, what an opportunity to appreciate the perfection within them, the wonderful things they do, and the caring they give.
Let me ask you this—if you were to sit down and ask yourself every morning, “What are three things I’m really appreciative of?” I suspect that you’ll find—if you force yourself to say something new every day—that the list would be UNLIMITED.
So today, go around to the people you appreciate, thank them for what they do. Thank your boss for the fact that you have a job. Thank your company for making sure you get a pay check every week. And be in that gracious spirit because the spirit of Thanksgiving is alive and well.
Tousled hair. Papers askew. And most important of all, an air of helpless overwhelm. This is the overworked worker.
Sometimes the frazzle is honest. But just as often, it’s a game designed to deflect responsibility and actual work.
We all know people who spend half their time telling others how overwhelmed they are, but you need a microscope to find what they actually accomplished. They seem so busy, so committed, that management sometimes finds it hard to say anything. And they keep on being busy being busy.
Then there are those who are quietly and happily productive—and end up with the lion’s share of the outcome riding on their shoulders.
The perception of hard work should never be a cover up for ineffective work. No matter where you are in the company, it isn’t kind to the whole team to let someone ride along on that perception without making a real contribution.
A feeling of being overwhelmed isn’t something to be proud of—it’s a problem in need of a solution. Be that solution. Next time someone whines to you about how busy they are, make suggestions for using their time more efficiently. And if you are that person, realize that you could shave your hours substantially and do the same work, or even more, and be happier in the process.
Did you know that a 2008 study by CPP found that U.S. employees spend 2.8 hours a week dealing with conflict? And did you know the cost of the conflict is $359 billion in paid hours or 385 million working days per year?
We can’t just wish conflict away. It’s a guaranteed part of human life and work. And conflict actually has many advantages when handled constructively. The key is that it can be managed, and it MUST be managed.
The worst approaches perpetuate the conflict. Nothing does this as surely as a win-lose approach. If you set someone up to lose in a conflict situation, they WILL find a way to “win,” even if it means sabotaging the other person or the process. I’m sure you’ve seen this happen. So avoid creating win-lose situations at all costs. That comes from the intention you set before you start. If you set out to create a win-win, chances are you will have a far better result.
Focus on a good outcome for everyone concerned. The first goal should be building relationships—showing others that you respect them and their opinions and want to hear diverse opinions. The key is to be open-minded to other opinions and provide factual and insightful arguments for your cause.
Handled badly, conflict can sink the ship. Handled well, it can increase trust and productivity. The bottom line is to attack the problem, not the human.
Someone’s late for a meeting. Nobody calls the person on it. Next week, three people are late. That’s no coincidence. Eventually, there won’t be a meeting in the entire organization that starts within 15 minutes of the scheduled time.
Sales reports aren’t done accurately or aren’t timely. Well, it’s your top producer, so what can you say?
Then, the top achiever stops doing the reports all together. So do the rest of your team members. Sales take a nosedive.
Everybody knows the rules, but no one is calling others on the breach of rules. Your organization becomes rule-free and loose. How could it not?
If you look at every successful organization, you see a group in which every team member calls every other team member on it whenever a service standard is breached, a deadline missed, or an honor code violated as defined by your values and behaviors.
Struggling organizations have folks who just want to be “nice.” They let it all go—which means, of course, that others will let THEM go when they mess up. Now the whole group is letting it all go—and in no time flat, you’re back to blaming the economy.
It is not management’s job alone to call people on their “stuff”—it is the role of every person within the organization. Only by doing that can you have any hope of progression.
People need to understand that it isn’t “mean” to challenge each other—it’s uncaring and unloving to NOT challenge each other for not doing what is required. It keeps others small.
Instead, call it tight and EVERYBODY wins.