There is lots of talk these days about the importance of embracing failure. And certainly, from a design perspective, there are many good reasons to do so.
For one, actively and strategically acknowledging mistakes and how we might learn from them builds a culture of experimentation. However, the corollary to embracing failure is to celebrate success in each other. Here is a quick guide to three ways you can approach celebrating your colleagues.
We spend more than 75 percent of the calendar year at work. We are expected to give “110 percent,” yet not all of us feel like we are invited to bring our full selves to work. How much do you really know each other? What might happen if the skills you’ve cultivated in your favorite hobby were incorporated into the ways meetings were run? Acceptance starts with curiosity. Don’t leave it to the annual retreat to get to know each other. Explore having more meet-ups at shorter intervals throughout the year to help you to understand and accept the fuller dimension of your colleagues.
One of the primary rules for giving feedback is to start with the positive. There is a physiological reason for this: the emotional pathway is faster than actual thought. When we are told we are wrong, that ignites neuro pathways in the same area of the brain as when we are in physical pain! This triggers the fight-flight response. Called identity protective cognition, we literally will try to defend our identity to the bitter end when faced with criticism. So soften the physiological and chemical responses in the body by giving words of encouragement and affirmation to each other in large and small acts. This goes a long way for when we will need to have more difficult conversations with each other.
At the end of the day, people need and want to feel validated. Validation is not about getting our way, but it is about visibility and recognition. We all need to be seen, heard and recognized. This goes a long way through the most difficult decision making processes, where not everyone will be the winner, but at least everyone will feel heard and included.
Fully celebrating each other has to be about more than the big hurrahs that an award at the end of a long tenure or a promotion brings. While those manifestations of success are important, it is also critical to celebrate each other in smaller doses, recognizing the full person by accepting, encouraging, and validating each other in incremental moments each day we work together.
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