Tuesday, December 8, 2009

≡ FLUFF? ≡




What do these words evoke in you as you sit in your office up to your neck in deadliness and unreturned phone calls?

How about these words?




Do the latter sound more realistic and business-like? Am I hitting a nerve? Am I reminding you of something? Or are you already in tune with the softer side of you?

What prompted all this fluff? You may ask...After all, this is a business-related blog, right?

It all started when a friend was telling me about a bad event at his workplace and he finished the narration by saying "And to do such a thing during the Christmas season! How could they?"
Or as the politically correct would say "And to do such a thing during the Holiday season! How could they?" I am not politically correct so Christmas stands in this story.

At any rate, allow me to politely disagree with every cell of my being at the allusion of any festivity as the basis for us being more human and kind-hearted. After all, if you think about it, at any point during the year it is someone's time to celebrate, whether it be Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, or Earth Day. So why let outside events dictate who and how you'll be, how you'll lead your team and when you will deal with a bad situation?

"Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see." -Mark Twain

And more importantly, where did we get the notion from that we have to be more humane during a common celebratory time? Why not behave humanely all year round?

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle."--Plato

A long time ago, while working for a large brokerage company, I attended a training where we all had to take part on role-play exercises. One person was the client the other the broker. Different scenarios played out for the entire team to see and evaluate. Scenario one: client wanted to understand his holdings and accounts and get some guidance on saving for his child's college. Scenario two: wife lost his husband and called to straighten out all of the brokerage accounts. Scenario three: son of a client was excited about opening his first account and wanted some educational help.

One thing immediately jumped out from all the scenarios. The tone. The broker's tone and inflexion when speaking with the widower was warmer and it addressed best the client's need. To which the trainer, arms up in the air, suddenly embodying an old Baptist minister & yelled out: "DOES SOMEBODY HAVE TO DIE FOR US TO BE EMPHATIC & KIND?"

That always stuck with me. A death is a sad, sad thing and it requires a special touch...but then again, don't we all go through small deaths and meaningful successes, rebirths if you will, through our days that we wish others were more in tune to?

Here are some simple practical applications for your work place:

  • Listen & ask questions
  • Be genuinely interested
  • Drop your crown-- if you go get yourself something to drink or eat offer to bring it to somebody else as well.
  • Offer to help someone who is in a bind or a tight deadline
  • Bring someone their favorite snack and put it on their desk without them knowing
  • Give that sincere compliment you've been meaning to for a while
  • Criticize behind closed doors
  • Take an interest in learning more about who the people you work with are
  • Avoid gossip, or anything that might be perceived as such
  • Have an accountability partner, someone whose feedback you trust
  • Be a mentor
  • Cultivate good motives in everything you do

As you carry on with your week, please remind yourself that tuning into your soft skills does not equal you becoming weak or wimpy. Au contraire, mon ami: ""Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair but manifestations of strenght and resolution." --Kahlil Gibran.

With these ideas in place watch your metrics be outstanding, your productivity soar and your deadlines be met...in advance.

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