When I was starting out in my operations career, I prided myself on being very logical, highly productive and efficient. Many years later I still call upon these skills all the time but I don’t use them in a vacuum. What I have learned is that efficiency is often only effective when it is accompanied by demonstrating empathy and care. In fact, I often tell clients that the further and faster they want to drive their business, the more they need to demonstrate that they care about their employees. Though I wish it were not so, I had to learn this the hard way, which is how many of us seem to do our best development. I also know when we make mistakes we have choices. Will we let the mistake make us more fearful of risk and more likely to protect ourselves? Or will it allow us to accept the natural vulnerability that comes with leadership and catalyze valuable learning? I say, let’s choose the latter. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get ready to grow.
Much of what I learn happens through collaborating with clients as an organization development practitioner. I am lucky to get to know many of my clients well and work with them over years. This builds a certain type of relationship and trust that makes the work richer and more effective. When someone asks me the secret of my success, my old self would have said that it is because I am highly competent. This is still an important foundation. But my more experienced, mature and practiced self knows it is because I care about my clients, their success and the success of their organizations and I demonstrate this in the way I work with them.
Some of my clients have become dear colleagues. I often feel that work is an expression of my love for people and for creating workplaces where they can flourish. This requires attention to both culture and leadership. It is a lot easier if you love what you do and it is even better if you care about the people with whom you work. Work seems too difficult these days without this connection.
I don’t know about you, but I really don’t want to work in ways that don’t add meaning to my life, and that of my clients. I am more aware that love actually has a lot to do with work. On this Valentine’s Day, may you find work that you love to do and people with whom you love to work.
Welcome to Moira's blog. I write about the work of building better work places: people strategies, systems, teams and leaders.