The Key to Improving Work
It’s as simple as that.
Better to your co-workers, to your direct reports, and yes, even to your boss.
There is so much talk these days about how work needs to change. I’m guilty of it (probably more than most). You hear about the lack of engagement, the stifling cultures, the mind-numbing processes that turn us into corporate zombies, dangerous stress levels, the internal politics, lack of diversity, and so much more.
There are deep systemic problems in the way we work. I don’t think anyone questions that anymore (I hope not). Problems that aren’t going to be fixed overnight. But we have to start somewhere. And that begins with how we treat each other.
With so much civil unrest happening outside the workplace and families under severe duress due to quarantine, remote schooling, and pandemic-related fears, the least we could do is make the work environment (even a remote one) a little bit friendlier.
Think about the stress you and your family have faced in the past six months and probably still are facing. Your colleagues are going through the same thing.
Think about the deadlines and sales goals and complex business problems on your plate every day. Your colleagues’ plate is just as full.
Think about how tired you often feel. Health problems you might have. The hopes and dreams that seem so hard to find time to focus on. Your colleagues are experiencing the same.
Empathy. We all need more of it. In fact, the lack of empathy may just be the root cause of all those systemic work problems, dating back to the earliest efforts to increase efficiency on the factory floor by removing or mitigating as much of the humanity of those working there as possible.
So as you go about your day, think about all the interactions you have, how you treat your co-workers, your business partners, vendors, contractors, consultants, and so on. Whether you’re an intern or CEO you impact those you interact with, contributing to the overall workplace atmosphere that we breathe in daily, which affects our state of mind.
The pandemic, despite its horrors, is an opportunity to rethink, reimagine so much of what was considered “normal”. And while there are no simple answers, perhaps the best way to start is for each of us to simply be better to each other as we go about our work. Especially today. Especially in 2020.
What can you do to make things a little better and minimize the stress we’re all facing?