We often think that the best managers – or, especially, “leaders” – connect on a deep and profound level with their employees, establishing a mutual understanding and commitment to each other. The sad reality, though, as mentioned yesterday, is that most of us lack the perspective, maturity, and discipline to pull it off.
That may seem a harsh claim to make, but if we engage in this sort of thing with colleagues for its own sake, it is inevitable. It means that we are essentially focused on ourselves, and for that very reason are losing our ability to be effective at our work. In such an event, what we wind up with is a disorienting mish-mash of motives and misunderstandings spinning around our attempts to relate to each other.
What we really should be doing is establishing and reinforcing the core basis of our mutual presence in the collaborative enterprise – the relationship of each of us not to each other, but to the work we have gathered together in our organizations to undertake. In the workplace, any relationships nurtured on any other ground than that are bound to wither – and often destructively so.
But if we are mindful of the real context of our connections, we can build them into truly meaningful and rewarding – rather than artificial and self-aggrandizing, even self-deceptively manipulative – relationships. Every facet of such interactions will be reinforced with manifest integrity and purpose – to the benefit of our organizations, surely, and via that of ourselves.
It is under such circumstances that work takes on its powerful secondary role in our lives, as a venue for social interaction and contribution. And it is in this way that we will have begun to resolve the perceived contradictions between our personal and our work lives.
So, when you are attempting to reevaluate your place in your work and its place in your life, consider this view of the matter: you will better weave both parts of your world into a coherent whole if you treat each of them as appropriate to the context in which they occur. We don’t – at least a first – love whoever we happen to work with like family. We don’t – at least in the beginning – view our co-workers as our faithful friends or good neighbors just because we happen to have the same signature on our paychecks. We neither expect from nor do things for our coworkers that we would with regard to our actual family, our true friends, or our real neighbors.
It can come very close to that, though, in time. But only because we sow these relationships in the right soil, soil to which they are native and in which they will flourish.
More on what this means to you in your daily work, tomorrow. See you then.
This post is a part of a series. You can learn about and link to the other articles here: Managing life, work, and life at work
Today’s tip: Speaking of connecting with your staff and developing a strong, effective, workplace culture, please see this excellent post on the subject by Miki Saxon.
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