I cut my husband Bill’s hair on the back porch last week so he wouldn’t need to see his barber while we are waiting out our turns to be vaccinated. Let’s just say that once it feels safe, he WILL return to the barber.
I heard myself say to Bill, “I preferred it when you had someone else do this for you and I just criticized your haircut when you came home.”
How many of us do the equivalent in our paid work?
It is often easier to criticize work we pay for than to acknowledge that we cannot competently do it ourselves.
Next time you catch yourself on the verge of a criticism, think about whether or not there is actually something constructive being added by your comment.
I conducted a virtual workshop this past fall on creating a more positive workplace. The insights of the thoughtful and engaged participants were so phenomenal that I have been sharing highlights from the program through a series of blogs. There was one detailing what contributes to an ideal workplace, and another on building connections. We then advanced to handling disagreements, discussing some helpful phrases to use in conversations, how to respond appropriately to difficult situations, and how to reduce conflict before it happens.
As part of the workshop, participants were given a homework exercise that I like to use in various programs and for my coaching clients. I asked them to think of a few work-related things for which they are grateful. I welcomed their submissions, and when shared with the whole class, it reminded everyone to stop and notice what is going right. Below are some of their responses:
- Knowing that I have helped someone during very stressful times.
- Friendly, happy faces to say good morning to.
- Really good open communication during this time, so no one feels out of the loop.
- I love the atmosphere and welcoming environment that my coworkers and I have created.
- That I have autonomy in planning my day and have freedom to adjust to work on higher priorities when necessary.
- The availability of the latest technology and equipment to do our jobs (at work and at home).
- Great IT Team that is patient and willing to train – especially appreciated NOW.
- Working in an environment that values work ethic and accountability.
- Everyone being very helpful and kind.
- Blue skies and sunshine!
What is going right in your workplace today?
The election got me thinking about the many job transitions that are happening in the DC area right now and I thought of one of my own. Many years ago, I started a new job at a regional bank. On my first day as an Assistant Vice President for Training and Development, I was greeted with smiles, handshakes, and a handwritten letter on my desk. Susan Middleton, my predecessor, left me notes on my desk, in binders, and literally all over the place.
There were notes outlining the budget, notes about projects started but not completed, and notes about ideas she had about future programming. Susan left a legacy when she left her job and I understood why she was so respected throughout the organization. What can we all learn from Susan?
- When you leave a job, leave information. Leave notes, keys, passwords, documents, hints.
- If you aren’t crazy about your boss, and that’s part of why you are leaving, remember that the organization signed your paycheck, not your boss.Your role is to help the organization prosper.
- If your organization does exit interviews, and I hope it does, tell the truth, but tell your truth kindly and respectfully. If you choose to write on a job-rating site, again, be truthful of your experience, but say it professionally.
- Write thank you notes. Let the folks who helped you know that you appreciate them.
- Remember that when you leave, your reputation stays.
- In every job there are people who you formed a connection with or who helped you succeed. Use LinkedIn to stay connected with those colleagues as your and their lives change.
- And if you haven’t done so already, by all means connect with me! And do it now, before you start the business of your new job.
How does your organization encourage smooth transitions?