Case in point, when I asked her how her sophomore year of high school was going and which classes she liked best, her reply (honors biology, Spanish, and honors lit) was prefaced with a Gatorade-over-the-football-coach’s-head-sized bucket of daily drama. Who likes who, who said this or that, who did one thing or another, etc. And as I listened and tried to counsel, I kept thinking, “How does any learning get done with all this drama and gossip going on in the battle of burgeoning egos?” And I reached the conclusion that the number one cause of educational disruption amongst teenage girls must be drama.
And I suspect that drama could give power outages (historically the number one cause of business disruption) a run for its money in the workplace too. Think about it. How much time is spent by people worrying about who’s saying what about whom, who is out to get them, or who is trying to make them look bad? In my experience over a 20-plus year career at a number of excellent organizations, the answer is: A LOT! Way too much, in fact! As a manager, think about how much time you spend dealing (directly or indirectly) with that kind of junk. And then think about how much time and energy is sapped from what your organization is supposed to be doing by insecure people who are spending too much time reacting and too little time acting (and I don’t mean acting in a dramatic sense, I mean taking action and simply doing their jobs).
So, today on World Recess Day (It’s also National Cream-filled Doughnut Day!), how about we all take a break – a recess – from ego-driven office politics? That’s easier said than done. So, I will share with you my personal and professional communications mantra: THINK! Everything you say (or type) should be Thoughtful, Honest, Intelligent, Necessary, and Kind. If it fails to meet any one of those criterion, it’s out. Do I “THINK” 100 percent of the time? Of course not; nobody’s perfect. But I try.
And with all that in mind, I have a few recommendations for all of you. To get egos in check (we’ve all got one!) and generally get along with others and be happier, read A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle and The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz. I also suggest you check outKeen shoes, because they are practically indestructible (my son’s feet are where shoes go to die), because World Recess Day is Keen’s faux holiday and clever marketing gimmick, because I give credit where credit is due, and because you’d kill in kickball with a pair of Keens on!
Director of Communications