When Caroline M and I first started getting excited about what it could be like if we took the opportunity that COVID- 19 offered us and collaborated on a joint venture, the overriding passion that sparked our excitement was that work should be a place of joy where we thrive and grow.
I wonder how many of us will finish work tonight reflecting on our day with a smile on their face? In fact, how many of us take the time each day to pause and think about how the day’s gone; what brought me joy, when did I feel on fire, what did I learn today?
One of the rituals we had as a family whilst eating our Sunday roast was to reflect on the week just gone and share “Best bit, worst bit”. It was our way of recognising the things that have brought us joy during the week as well as recognising the reality that not everything will be that way. Even now, twenty years later, when we get together as a whole family this is still a question that creates wonderful, thoughtful conversations.
At work, it is unlikely to be joyful 100% of the time and some of the things that will ultimately help us to thrive and grow may feel quite challenging and sometimes may even feel painful. Too often we focus on what’s not working rather than recognising what is and working out how to do more of it.
We often talk to teams about moments of joy. These are the times during the day where you realise you’ve maybe stood a little taller, there’s a smile in your heart and on your face, you paused for a moment-sometimes not quite sure why you had paused. It can be something somebody says to you; how are you… thank you… I loved it when… It could be something you’ve done; a niggly task finished, a stretching presentation completed, realising you’ve been totally engrossed for the last hour and loved every minute of it. It could be something you’ve seen; flowers in the park on your walk, the birdsong in the air, a billboard or a colourful building that makes you stop and look.
Creating workplaces that are filled with joy, places where we can all thrive and grow, is everyone’s responsibility. Every workplace has a culture, one that has been left to emerge or one that has been proactively created. As leaders whatever the culture is in your organisation today, that is the culture that you have either enabled or proactively created. We believe that Compassionate Cultures are what the world needs right now; Compassionate Cultures inspire, develop and enable organisations to thrive as human entities as well as business and economic ones.
Any day, but particularly in today’s world, one simple thing we can do to create a compassionate culture where work is a place of joy, is to check in with our people. Lack of connection is the biggest single challenge we are hearing from teams we are working with at the moment. Marcus Buckingham put it very clearly in his book “Nine lies about work: Checking in with each person in the team… is not what you do in addition to the work of leading. This IS the work of leading”
- Today – ask your people these three simple questions:
- How are you feeling?
- What are you working on?
- How can I help?
… and simply listen to what they have to say.
We often talk about listening on leadership programmes, and there are often times when I feel that people are sitting there thinking “but I know how to listen”. I know my listening is not what it should be, I know I’m making unconscious judgements all the time in my head. I’m often worrying about how to respond or just waiting for a space so I can get my point across.
I came across an expression the other day from Fred Kofman
In reality many of our conversations aren’t meaningful dialogues but overlapping monologues.
That nailed it for me – it gave me a really clear benchmark to recognise how well am I listening and equally how much do I feel listened too.
In your conversations today, be brave & simply listen