There are many moments when you can upset people in the workplace. When someone is hurt or upset they have an emotional reaction. They might pull away from you or they might attack you in some way, even when you didn’t intend to hurt them.
Whatever you may think about Valentine’s Day there is a degree of excitement around. I heard people renewing their vows to their partners on the radio this morning. People give red roses, chocolates, special meals and many other signs of their love today.
Anything that get’s people to relate better to each other is good in my book. Building positive relationships needs to be worked at. Just as with a loving relationship you need to say and do things to let the other person know they are loved, respected and valued.
A story in the Dominion Post this morning (February 4, 2013) sparked my interest. It is fifty years since a young man, high on alcohol and tranquilizers shot two policemen in cold blood.
He served over 11 years in jail and another 10 years on probation and has since lived a productive life, it would appear. He is now 77 year old with children and grandchildren. I have no quibble about his punishment and am delighted that he has done well with his life.
Adam Lanza the gunman who caused such carnage in Newtown Connecticut was a loner. It was difficult for people to show him empathy and difficult for him to receive it. But that is what he needed most from the ordinary people around him.
While changing the gun laws will restrict access to these lethal weapons and may reduce the number of incidents of shootings in America, changing the way we show empathy is a more sustainable way to change the hearts and minds of others and make the world a safe and peaceful place.
Here is a TUF tip when speaking to individuals or to a group of people in a meeting, especially about new projects that you are wanting to introduce.
When someone asks a question or puts up an objection, you will have more chance that they will listen to you if you acknowledge the feeling or concern that is most likely behind that question. Be aware of their emotion, even if they don’t express it fully.
A controversy in the news today concerns the publicist for the ACT Party, John Ansell, who sacked himself because the party wouldn’t use some of his copy in their advertisements. Leader Don Brash said he was tempted by some of the statements John Ansell used, but in the end toned them down. John Ansell claimed the whole party are cowards because they won’t speak ‘the truth’ about what is going on.
Without getting into the details of the controversy, here are two things we can learn about workplace communication and community dialogue from this incident.
In their book Authentic Conversations, Jamie Showkeir , Maren Showkeir and Margaret J Wheatley focus on the way workplace relationships set up a Parent–Child dynamic. The manager or supervisor is cast in the position of the parent — taking responsibility for everything that happens, including employee happiness, security, and success.
The employee is cast in the position of the child — dependant on the manager for approval, for security, and for happiness at work. In their lives outside of work, these same people own and manage properties, raise families, run clubs and otherwise take full responsibility for themselves, but at work that doesn’t seem to count for much.