Career Coach Mentor:’ How do we take care of each other at work?’ Was a question asked by a colleague today? Given that all present at this meeting had either been recently bereaved or had this journey looming it seems a very wise question… What I was noticing was this: the Colleague who asked the question was the one most in need at that moment, but, inherent in the need of hers to be met, lay the generosity of permission for others for to ask too.
We are whole human beings, even, especially, at work. Sure, I can utterly park my emotional landscape for a 90-minute coaching session. Other people quandaries are SO much more interesting than my own. But to deny my feelings for a long period of time would result in some kind of fall-out in the long run. To park my feelings for an extended period of time would also compromise the clarity and the quality of the service that I provide.
Life is thankfully not always as extreme as last year when I would park my feeling, climb into in-depth work with a client, only to emerge to write my mothers eulogy, wailing, during my lunch break. And yes, I did establish my ‘fitness to practice’ with my own supervisor. And yes I do think they work was a really valuable tool in the repertoire of staying sane whilst grieving. Surrender to that process 24/7 and I would have been lost.
So, we are more than work,
and work is more than us. We have a multitude of different identities that we move between in a day so perhaps it is better that we do so by choice. And perhaps it is better that we move between these identities with the support that we need. Here’s Forbes view
in a top down kinda way:
“Employees who feel valued and appreciated by their leaders are infinitely more likely to go above and beyond for the company and hold themselves accountable for their part of a project.”
But when it comes down to it I think it’s about making time. Whatever level of the organisation you work for, I can guarantee that you will be pressed for time. If you are self-employed you will be pressed for time. And that is why we all need to make an extra special effort to carve it out for other humans. Making time to connect. Making time to ask ‘How are you?’ And ‘What do you need’ and ‘What can I do to help’. We need to take time to care.
Whatever the stats say about ‘improved productivity’ emerging from kindness, is it not more important to foster genuinely human connection and care and make work a good, whole place to be. This way we can be out good, whole selves whilst we are there. I bet this reduces misunderstandings and conflict no end.