By Daniel Robin
Does your workplace support your personal growth? I'm not asking
if your boss lets you listen to Tony Robbins tapes or attend EST workshops on company
time; I am asking if ....
- You're rewarded more for learning than for having the right answer
- You're recognized for handling a personal issue with minimal disruption,
rather than being criticized for having it in the first place
- You hold yourself accountable to your agreements, and in case you miss
the mark, or make a mistake, you're not just made wrong for it, but you're supported by
getting constructive feedback to improve how you do next time.
Given both your strengths and your yet-to-be-developed strengths
(formerly known as weaknesses), do your daily responsibilities encourage you to stretch
and grow to the utmost? Or perhaps you've "been there, done that" -- outgrown
growth -- and just want to collect a paycheck.
As interpersonal skills become increasingly more important to business
success, the thin line between personal and professional development is fast disappearing.
The technical skills and industry expertise you possess allows you to keep pace and
maintain your career; the people side can get you where you want to go.
Welcome to a new type of "on-the-job" training. You could have
your workplace teach you lots about you. Every task you perform, every person you work
with, each customer ... is a potential source for discovering something new about
yourself. What would it be like if you decided to learn and grow from everything that
happens at your job?
Pride of Ownership
One key is to take personal responsibility for the results you get.
Even if your boss or coworkers aren't taking responsibility for theirs, the advantage of
you doing it is that you'll continually develop strengths that you'll take with you.
Collecting a paycheck is fine; why not collect two?
The Meaning of Your Communication
For instance, who is responsible for your communication? The ultimate
meaning of our communication is not what you think it means. It has everything to
do with the response you get from the other person. This response, and the affect it has,
could be entirely separate from your intended message.
You may intend to pay someone a compliment, and if they take it
the wrong way, what can you do about that? Would it make sense to argue that they should
just take it as a compliment and chill out? Perhaps a better approach is to notice that
for them to receive it, somehow, compliments must be delivered differently.
Choice Is Better Than No Choice
As we increase our awareness of how we produce responses in other
people, we will have additional choices. If were triggering an unintended response,
rather than writing that person off as volatile, cranky, and annoying, remain curious and
understand how it happens. The trigger may be as subtle as tone of voice or certain facial
expressions; these non-verbal cues say much more than our words. Asking for and
understanding feedback is a great way to accelerate growth.
If you shift your attention from how frustrating it is for them to
misinterpret you, and focus instead on how interesting it is that your meaning is being
lost on them, you'll soon discover what you can do about it. Shifting your attention to
where you have choice -- how you operate, not what they're doing -- sets up a
pattern for yourself of looking inward whenever adversity knocks (or bangs).
A famous definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and
expecting a different result.
Sharing Power in Communication
Communication, like driving in traffic, is a cooperative system. If the
other person goes on a tirade for no apparent reason, simply marvel at how you have such
power to influence others.
If youre producing an unintended result, bypass frustration: step
back, remember your goal, and then gain perspective on how you are getting that result.
When life's an experiment, you can try different ways to move with the other person to
achieve your goal. With time, this investment in yourself can yield dividends far beyond
the basic monetary rewards of employment.
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