We are all humans — sensitive at times, sensible at times. But we are humans, we have evolved over the years, and we continue to grow.
My views on the need to constantly watch ourselves and periodically review our thoughts, actions, and body language.
Just as a case in point or a thought trigger — One’s years of experience and current role are different. While your years of experience have brought you here, you need to stop referencing your background, and what you have achieved in every conversation you have with your co-workers on any given day or job in your position. These are some topics everyone should always think about from time to time.
- Your current persona is not your final persona. You have arrived here through years of experience and many lessons. You have matured through the challenges and opportunities that were presented to you. But what you are may not always be the ultimate persona for the rest of your life. You will have strong views, likes, and dislikes. Unless you work for yourself and not with people or society, you need to be open to learning. Especially learning from unexpected people or situations. Constantly analyze what you are missing and how you are perceived. You may have gotten feedback and critical reviews about this; Perhaps you don’t care about them. Take a conscious effort to do a self-review from time to time and see if any changes to your persona are warranted. Assume there is always scope for improvement.
- Don’t take people and their time for granted. Almost always, you are interacting, working with people in some shape, space or capacity. Value people’s time and availability. Value what they bring to the table BUT don’t take them for granted. If you are a manager or team leader, don’t just think they have to do what you want them to do. They are your resources but human resources. We live in human society and not a place where only machines and robots constitute that society. Be courteous to people’s time and make it a point to communicate clearly the need to stretch, the reason for your slip-ups. It is ok to apologize and not take for granted that people will constantly adjust, understand or put up with your actions.
- Your thoughts, passion, and the story should inspire people. Your work should inspire people. Some situations demand you say what needs to be done and get on with it. In other cases, you may need to lead the team to the battlefield. In any journey, you want to have people with you, be conscious of what message you are giving. At the same time, look at ways to have your reflection observe how you communicate. Do not be oblivious to how you communicate and what you convey to your team. If you continue to be oblivious to what people feel, you will always have a disconnect, and because you are not reviewing constantly, you may not even be aware of it. Challenge your status quo or typical communication template periodically.
- Walk the talk. My ex-manager used to say — say what you will do, do it and say what you have done. Sometimes we say one thing, but that never reflects in our actions. You may or may not be aware or locked into this perception, but if the people who look up to you don’t feel the connection between what you say and what you do, you may not inspire them or rally them in your journey towards your mission. The journey is the goal; the journey is the learning for life. Analyze if what you speak also reflects in your actions. If you think you have perfected that, then you are not allowing yourself to grow. You may also miss the opportunity to correct things before it is too late. Nothing is perfect for all seasons and all reasons.
- Your body language always has a tell. Your body language will either complement or contradict what you say. Sometimes it is in sync, and sometimes, it is not. The trouble is you are not always aware of your body language. Next time you are in a social or a company meeting, try to observe what you are thinking, how you are, and your body language. Try to be present and avoid multi-tasking. Most of the time, this is where you deliver a different impression, convey interest or lack thereof, when you are physically present but mentally multi-tasking on something else. If you cannot be fully present, don’t get offended by how people react to you.
- Avoid communication and affinity bias. Most people have a favorite quarter-back, a handyman, a go-to man, or a confidante. You should have them in your life. My views are only relevant to a setting with a team or more people than one person. We tend to seek approval, recognition with those select few whom we have taken a liking to. We tend to rely upon or seek their work to progress our thinking, projects, actions, etc. It could be healthy and fruitful to one’s growth. BUT in a team gathering or a larger audience, just watch for this coming across as communication, affinity bias, or favoritism. I am not saying we need to please everyone, but we can at least avoid hurting people who might be looking up to you to learn, emulate, and grow. You always have someone or the other looking up to you.
At the end of the day, life is short; friends and family are important, but being of help, a source of inspiration, and learning goes a long way toward having a fulfilling life.
These are lessons to myself as well as the people to whom this appeals.