- On August 21, 2013
I was whiling away some time on a rainy vacation day in one of those artsy-craftsy stores where you end up buying something cute that you don’t really need. I noticed a sign hanging on the wall over the bowls of homemade dog biscuit samples:
“Lord, help me to be the person my dog thinks I am.”
With a couple of word changes, I thought that would make the perfect mindset intention to get leaders ready for a day of work:
“Help me to be the person my co-workers need me to be.”
Dogs are devoted no matter how you treat them. But, Oh the joy of the wagging tail when there is a little kindness shown! A treat, a brushing, a walk, even just seeing their owner returning from work…can start shivers of excitement and gratitude that rattle their whole body.
You’ve probably had days like this: Even before I walk into the office, a new meeting is on the schedule. Have to prepare. Reschedule appointments. Finalize comments to meet two deadlines. Respond to customers. Satisfy stakeholders. Draft a proposal. Attend four or five meetings. Anything other than what is on my own agenda gets curt answers if I even have time to acknowledge it. The more the stress ramps up, the more I find I put blinders in place to focus on getting my own little world in order. Not much thought is given to what others may need from me to get their job done.
Like the devoted dog, we all come into work with an expectation to be treated fairly, given challenging assignments and the resources to be productive, to learn something, and be appreciated and encouraged for the work we do. That is what wags our tail. The reality often detracts from our tail-wagging experience.
Do you remember the last time you needed something from a boss/co-worker and they actually stopped and said kindly, “sure, what can I do for you?” Just that few seconds it took them to hear what you needed, route the action, sign the document…that’s a tail-wagging experience.
As a leader, I’ve found that remembering I’m here to help make others productive helps me refocus from my own agenda and anticipate how I can be the person they need me to be. While I still have the same amount of my work to get done, I find I attack it with more zest when I feel good about the few minutes I’ve taken to help someone else be productive in their day. That wags my tail.
What changes would you make to become the “person my co-workers need me to be?”