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Aritfacts and Work Culture

As I was sitting in the office of another department head, I started noticing things on the walls. The walls weren’t filled with the ‘I love me’ certificates or notes of achievement that is come to be expected in an office setting. His walls and bookcases were filled with what seemed to be a random assortment of items. There was a stufffed cat, a picture of a donkey, a replica WWE championship belt and various photos that were somewhat embarrassing for the leader to have on display.

I started asking about all of the clutter, the seemingly off placement of items. What began as a conversation about culture and productivity.

He had created a culture in which the employees honestly felt as they were a family. The office was less of a shrine to himself and more of a display of inside jokes and memories of great times. Everything in the office, even the weird stuffed cat, had a meaning to someone or a group of people within the group. The stories that were told along with each item made it clear to me why his department when performing at such a high level of efficiency.

There was a large amount of trust built into the workgroup. There were a vast amount of memories made into each random item and with it an emotional connection to the workgroup.

As the trust and inside jokes increased, so did the productivity. The employees felt safe and welcomed. Simply creating an environment in which the people were the value had effectively made the workgroup under his command stick out.

How do you create an environment and atmosphere that makes people stay safe? Value others and embrace their personalities. Their and your careers depend upon it.

Perspective (Continued)

I share this from a conversation I had with a young professional employee. A few weeks ago I wrote about the importance of understanding the perspective from which the person you are trying to communicate with is internalizing your message. A few days after publishing that, I was contacted by a subscriber whom shared with me an excerpt from a conversation they had with a co-worker.

In the story, their coworker was complaining about ‘millennials’ and their lack of work ethic. The coworker went on to degrade the generation for not being as committed to the organization as generations in the past as well as highlighting a few other stereotypes about ‘millennials.’

Politely, the younger worker, who is 29, replied with; “I’m a millennial, do you think I exhibit these characteristics?”

The coworker simply stated, you’re too old to be a millennial and continued down the path of complaining and stereotyping.

As the conclusion of this conversation, the young employee pointed out things from their perspective:

“It’s not our fault that the baby boomers pushed us all to go into college. It’s not our fault that we were told the only way to be successful was to become a white-collar professional. We have simply been over-educated to the point to where nobody wants to get their hands dirty because we have been told since adolescents that success comes from being in an office setting.”

From a perspective stance, I find this thought-provoking. There are many ways to utilize those few sentences in the workforce to lead, motivate, and inspire other people. The first step in doing so is to fully understand. Understand where your coworkers and employees may be coming from. To know how they are internalizing things and to act accordingly.

Perspective

What perspective are you using as a leader? Many times, we view the world through the lens of our experiences and we automatically assume other people see the world in the same manner as ourselves. The reality is, that could not be further from the truth.

When we deal with others, we must be certain that we make a strong effort to view the world as they see it. In an attempt to communicate a thought or an idea, we must understand how the other person receives and processes information.

We have all seen the co-worker or employee that has a struggle in their personal life bleed over into the workplace. It is a natural thing that, as much as we try not to, still occurs with regularity. As a leader, do you view how they are processing information or do you address performance deficiencies without thought?

If a person is struggling in their marriage and is beginning to have issues at work, could a simple conversation, if not handled appropriately, lead to the employee feeling as though they are being rejected in the workplace as well as at home? Simply taking the time to analyze what is going on with an employee, and understanding them to the best of your abilities can have a significant impact on employee morale as well as productivity.

While this is one example, it can be replaced with many. Is the employee in the middle of a life change, baby on the way, a new house being built, newly promoted? The list goes on.

Bottom line, as a leader, it is your responsibility to analyze the employee’s perspective and how they will interpret information presented. It is then your duty to treat your people accordingly.