Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
- Leo Buscaglia

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Kinder Approach to Workers

     I was in Chicago today doing some work with a company that wanted to improve its organizational culture.  The first part of my job was to assess the current state and I did this by meeting individually with a cross section of employees to understand their various perspectives on the topic.  As I sat with one senior manager, he explained to me some of the issues they had around communication.  To help me understand, he gave me an example of a typical problem situation and how he would handle it with an employee.
     After listening to the manager's approach, I asked if he was open to considering another way of responding.  Seeing that he was, I suggested a much kinder way of dealing with the problem.  It was a way that showed more respect for the employee and had a far greater probability of achieving the manager's objective.  As I explained this approach, the manager's eyes lit up and he was quick to acknowledge that he could see how my approach would be way better for him - he just had never thought of it before.  He had been so conditioned to work from an authoritative, command and control mentality that it never occurred to him there was another way.  More importantly, he could readily see how a kinder approach could actually achieve better results.
     It was fun to help someone see entirely new possibilities for interpersonal relationships based on kindness and respect rather than fear and intimidation.  Hopefully there will be just a little more kindness at that company tomorrow than there was yesterday.

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