Seasons - (not the kind you think)
As we approach the holiday season, we may find ourselves conversing around seasonal topics of office etiquette, festivities and even traditions. However, here at the Variegate Group, ‘seasons’ are a part of our everyday language. Our seasons come and go on a whim, as they refuse to follow any sort schedule, date or even time of year. Seasons at the Variegate Group are defined as ‘an unexpected life changing moment in time. The birth of a baby, divorce, death or illness of loved one(s) or anything else of significance that causes a speed bump in the road we call life.’
We, as humans, don’t talk enough about seasons and their effect on people in the workplace. Office culture often dictates we deal with them in a very traditional way which is ‘everyone has them, deal with it.’ Frequently the mantra is, ‘leave it at the door.’
News flash for all you humans out there who have been through your seasons, (yep, I am talking to you!) can you honestly say that there has never been a season or event that has affected a day at work? Or weeks? Can you confidently admit that those who work around you have not been affected by your seasons? When those speed bumps come along, you may find, in these challenging moments, that your season can manifest itself in the form of a sharp tongue, impatience or even ignorance in order to cope. Chances are your employees felt a shift in your style, your approach and even asked themselves ‘what in our relationship has changed?’ Regardless of how much you share, internalization is unavoidable. So how do we handle these rough patches with human kindness?
It is all too common to see seasons as a weakness and something ‘you need to figure out – outside of work’. Companies hesitate to recognize that if not dealt with, an employee’s season comes in to the workplace whether they wish it to or not and can leave long term affects that go unresolved. How many managers, who find themselves in challenging times, would take the opportunity to step away from managing for a moment and take on other projects that are more individual in nature? I recall having encouraged a brave, working mother with 2 very young children to step away from managing for a while so she could handle absorbing her divorce and imminent move to a new home. We agreed, that she would take on a larger personal/individual work project and raise her expectations for that project to show a larger increase in business than originally planned. She was grateful, focused and crushed her numbers. She not only came back a few months later to handle a larger team, but a business that was even bigger than the one she left! Is she loyal? Yes. Is she still at that same company and committed? Yes. Is that human ROI?! Yes!
What does it take? How does a company trust in the program, process and even in others to move the needle on human ROI? There are tools, and these tools do just that, measure and track trust as well as other KPI’s in your company. They continue to push individuals to use emotional intelligence when making decisions and to track the effectiveness of your initiatives. We can no longer make excuses for ignoring seasons, as we can’t afford it. We can however, prepare for them… as they will continue to come and go.
Check out our website, www.variegategroup.com, to learn more about The Variegate Group and how we introduce the power of diverse thought to combat unconscious bias.