As we have all wrapped up our 2017 Thanksgiving Holiday we have said thanks and have expressed appreciation many times. We’ve connected with family both near and far. Maybe, reached out to someone not spoken to in a while. We smiled a little more, maybe laughed and cried some too. Possibly, we had a few awkward situations, a couple of fights and a word or two that we wish we had back.
Okay, so did I just describe your Thanksgiving Day or a day at the office? In my many years, I have seen it as both on a regular basis. Every day the teams we work with are our family just as much as all of our relatives. You might be shaking your head and thinking I’m not sure I agree. Well, let’s take a look.
If you think about the 24 hours in the day and how they break down for most it looks about like this. At least 8+ hours at work, add in the time to get there and all else that goes with our time around work and you can see pretty quickly that the largest chunk of our time awake is at work around our co-workers. We are scattered at home and rarely have evenings where we get home from our work and are able to sit down with the whole family all night. Then, before you know it, the night has caught up with us and bedtime calls. We wake up and we do it all over again.
Based on that rough look at an average day you can quickly see how our co-workers see more of us than our families to a certain degree. So, why would we not think that that full range of emotions that we experience and share with our families would not be the same at work? The reality is they are the same, but often we fail as leaders and managers to recognize it. With the amount of time we spend with our teams and clients, relationships are built, strengthened and also disrupted daily.
A large part of the education time we spend with our clients at The Growth Factory is around how to communicate well with the teams they manage as well as their customers. In all of my years of managing and leading teams, I’ve recognized that the need for this is obvious. We can say the wrong thing or misinterpret an email with our work relationships just the same as we do with family. The consequences will look and feel familiar as well. Making sure to always take the time and recognize the good performance and saying thank you for the effort put forth on a regular basis is a nice start. If that isn’t done well or consistently enough it can feel a bit superficial and like a substitute for not being more connected year-round. We all can suffer from this as we know we are busy and have so many things going on in both parts of our lives.
The point of this blog, written the day after Thanksgiving, is to challenge yourself to try to make a conscious effort with both of the families in our lives to be a little more aware each day of how we, as leaders, are caring for both of these groups that in the end mean so much to us. It takes thought and effort to make a difference, but in the end, the payback here is well worth it. I think in this case the return on investment is clear, but sometimes in our day to day lives, we quickly lose sight of it. Work every day to be a better leader/family member and show everyone the right way to build that strong productive and caring family.
Good luck and good growth to all.