Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Curling In The Workplace

There is currently concern within my company about rising levels of stress in the workplace.  For a company focused on well-being, a lot of employees are stressed out.  Why?  I personally believe in what is called the servant leader approach to not only managing people but also working with others in a cooperative and collaborative way.  We all know there are daily challenges with the work we do.  These challenges can be complicated by leaders and other co-workers who spend more time making demands, sometimes unrealistic, by micro-managing their teams, or by being excessively needy rather than spending time figuring out how they can support and help the efforts of their fellow co-workers.  In the winter Olympics there is a game called curling which no one in America really understands.  It involves some guys pushing something that looks like a giant hockey puck down the ice.  Ahead of them is a guy furiously sweeping the ice to reduce the friction and resistance so it is easier for the other guy to guide the “puck” to the goal.  This “furiously sweeping the ice” is a big part of what all of us should be doing for one another.  I hope my analogy makes sense.  Basically, leaders, and really everyone, should make things easier, not harder, for their co-workers.  The work we do is often stressful enough with all of its demands for compliance, turnaround time, and quality but I think leaders and others are often making the workplace more stressful than it needs to be.  Leaders hold the bulk of the responsibility but we are all accountable for this.

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