I recently encountered a person who’s researching policies to ensure that humor in the workplace remains civil. I’m a major proponent of humor in life, and there’s plenty of research verifying the health benefits of humor and laughter. It’s no surprise, then, that there are curmudgeons out there who want to control it. To read a Mayo Clinic article on the health benefits of humor click here. It’s a blessing to have people in the workplace who laugh easily and who like to make others laugh.
As I write this post on July 9, 2016, the USA is in the midst of bitter, extreme political partisanship. Our society at this moment is polarized. This post is not about that, but what’s going on in businesses and other organizations, it seems to me, reflects this larger societal trend. “Compromise” has become a dirty word. There are too many “us and them” mentalities, too many fear-based behaviors, too much demonizing of “them,” or him, or her, and too many adversarial relationships. It’s unhealthy and it’s very costly. People are out of focus. They’re diverting a huge amount of productive time to unproductive behaviors.
As usual, I don’t think I have the answer, but this is a classic situation in which the struggle to find answers — the struggle itself — creates immense value. We must not shrink from this challenge. Without the struggle, answers will not emerge.
Muhammad Ali, hero of the 20th century, died last night. If you’re too young to remember his story, I encourage you to read a couple of the many articles recapping his inspiring journey. As you will learn, his record-shattering accomplishments as a boxer are overshadowed by his impact as an agent for social change. Reflecting on what we can learn from Ali, in this post I discuss the relationship between integrity and courage.
A client recently asked me, “How do we create a culture of feedback?” That question took me back to the following story.
I was the HR Director at a large conference hotel. We had a team of employees known as banquet housemen whose job was to clean, set-up and tear down the hotel’s many function rooms. It’s a very physical job which involves moving tables and chairs in and out of storage areas, setting rooms to precise specifications, and cleaning those rooms so that when you arrive for your meeting the room looks terrific down to the last detail. Banquet housemen, therefore, are deployed all over the hotel, and they work odd hours (so that you can dance until 1:00 AM at your awards banquet, and some other group can start their meeting in that very same room at 8:00 AM).
When I ask leaders about how close they like to become with their associates, there seems to be a very clear line between being friendly and being friends. Would you agree?
I would like to invite you to think about this concept very practically, which may push you out of your comfort zone for a bit, but may also radically change the way you view relationships with your team members.