Are you MAD?

 Dec 07, 2016

As one of the last blogs of the year, I thought it worth reflecting on whether we are actually MAD or not – yup, whether you’re Making A Difference at your workplace?

I came across this quote from William Arthur Ward (American Motivational Speaker) and thought that it was a good basis for my blog:

“Do more than belong: participate. Do more than care: help. Do more than believe: practice. Do more than be fair: be kind. Do more than forgive: forget. Do more than dream: work.”

#1 Participate and Practice

Whether we like it or not, we are connected to others in the workplace, even a dispersed workplace. Remember that old saying which goes that you get as much out at you put in? Well it was never truer than now. Just being a physical presence at work and doing your own thing is not enough; businesses thrive when there is synergy, and the catalyst for this is a connection with others. We exchange ideas, we discuss, we argue, we analyse and in all this, we contribute more than the mere job for which we were hired. Participation is about being active and proactive; it is about looking for opportunities and coming up with ideas. Share them and even if you get knocked back, keep going because one of your ideas will succeed and make your workplace better for you.

#2 Kind and Caring

Being kind and caring covers three areas, as I see it. However, I think they should be considered jointly because they are intertwined.

  • Avoid negativity and I’m not talking about those days where you just need to vent your frustration about something! We all have those, right? No, I mean those people (and you know whom I mean) who never seem to be able to accept responsibility for problems, who seem defeated before they’ve even given something a try, and for whom it has become a toxic habit. Suggest that you and they look at solutions, or think about ways to make a difficult situation more palatable.
  • Positive conversations are far healthier for you and the organisation. A focus that is forward thinking and solution-orientated carries you ahead. Be sincere when you compliment someone, and acknowledge when someone does something personal for you, like passing on an interesting article, or giving client feedback. I’d even suggest being gracious when someone does something exactly right, first time, deserves a positive response, because this is not widespread.
  • Caring and helping is showing feelings for the wellbeing of colleagues. This doesn’t imply a therapy session but rather a genuine interest in your colleagues. This requires that you get to know them, especially those in your team or those with whom you work closely. If they’re moving house, a quick “How did the move go?” can make all the difference. It shows that you give-a-damn. An ability to be empathetic and validate the feelings of others is a tremendous asset and it doesn’t cost anything, other than having awareness beyond your own little world.

#3 Work

“Well I DO work”, I hear you say! I’m sure you do but I’m suggesting that you look at your job and consider a wider parameter: are there ways you could help someone new get on board quicker; share knowledge with colleagues, or pass on the “how-to” of the business where necessary.

Also, think like a lazy person; is there a way to work smarter not harder? Are you sure that you know exactly what is expected of you? Great communication skills are such an asset and can minimise the need for revision work. Achieve your goals so that they don’t hang over you and make you miserable. Learn more about your field by networking, participating in webinars and reading articles, to make sure that you aware of the latest thinking in your field.

In conclusion, appreciate the difference you already make. You shouldn’t need a performance appraisal or outside validation to know when you’ve done an effective job. Kudos are lovely, positive feedback is welcome, but I believe the “buzz” comes from realising that your effort has an overall contribution to the people you work with, the success of the business, and your own self-esteem.

For more information, take a look at New Horizons' Professional Development training.

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About the Author:

Fee Hosking  

With over 24 years experience as a trainer, Fee is one of our most senior Professional Development trainers at New Horizons Sydney. With a professional background as a management consultant in the South African manufacturing industry, Fee brings credibility, experience and authenticity to all of the subjects that she trains. She has the ability to engage professionals from the junior to the senior level. Bringing great energy to the classroom, Fee ensures that the learning experience for all who attend is an enjoyable one, which in turn makes it a truly impactful one.

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