In a recent training class, one of our exercises was to pair up people from the same department in similar job functions and have each person share a challenging situation they were facing at work. The other person’s role was to listen, ask questions, and offer any additional insight.
Working within your comfort zone has its moments. There is a period of time (for some it might be months, for others it might be a year or more) when you’ve hit your stride – you’re working efficiently and effectively with no discernible downside. The effort is reasonable, the quantity is manageable, the time spent is acceptable, and the output is respectable, perhaps even impressive. Overall it feels predictable.
This time of year can be particularly stressful for many people. Maybe you are trying to get your work done and meet year-end goals before the office closes down. Perhaps your co-workers are already on vacation and you’re doing double duty. Likely you are busy juggling work along with holiday shopping, special events and trying to find time to get it all done.
As we wrap up another trip around the sun, spending our time reflecting on days gone by and ruminating on what’s to come as the calendar turns from 2014 to 2015, I want to talk about the idea of choice. Many of us have used the phrase, “I had no choice.” But I don’t believe that anymore. Whether or not to do or say something is a choice in my book. Or doing something and implying that one’s hands are tied and nothing else could be done is also choosing. I think that in every situation we always have a choice.
There are important milestones in your professional development that will arise as you strive to accelerate and accentuate your leadership competencies. I am using the term leadership in a very generic sense, not implying any formal role, title or authority, but rather an elevated presence highlighted by intelligence, actions and behavior that inspires others to seek you out. Essentially, at various times in your career you will come to a crossroads, and whether by intention, guidance or luck, you might choose to go in one direction over another.
We have seen a growing wealth of research on the benefits of acknowledging gratitude and on the mechanisms of how practicing gratitude succeeds in creating positive impact. From the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley, we know that the practitioners of gratitude have:
It’s that time of year when common colds and the flu virus begin to spread. Every fall/winter there’s a major stir and worry for catching something that knocks you out for days or weeks. Given the personal manner of transmittal, one effect may be minimized contact in the office and distance from our colleagues, which is already on a downturn in our global, virtual work world.
What if, instead, we focused on a different kind of contagion; one that we actually hoped would spread? What if it spread like wild fire around the company and the outcomes were enhanced productivity and increased positivity?