One of the most dispiriting times in my life was working for a boss who couldn’t seem to remember the most basic things about me, and who thought nothing of asking me to disrupt my off-duty time for work.
I remember telling him I would be away one weekend at a ballroom competition. He subsequently asked me to call in for a phone meeting with colleagues on that Saturday afternoon. I told him in advance I really needed to limit my time to an hour because of the awards dinner. Somehow he managed to phone in late, and kept us all waiting. By the time I got off the phone, I was late to the dinner and missed accepting an award I had earned.
He never asked me about my personal life or really knew any details about what I loved outside my job.
When a work place honors employees’ other life commitments, it communicates respect for the whole person, and makes it easier for that person to feel valued. In Jane Dutton’s Energize Your Workplace, she affirms this interest in a person’s outside activities gives employees’ permission to be more present, more authentic, and less afraid to be who they really are. These high quality connections between people energize a workplace.
As Jim Collins also notes in Good to Great, the types of relationships that are fostered contribute to an organization’s long-term productivity, stability, and overall excellence.
As a friend of mine recently said, the longer he worked, the less it mattered what he did. It mattered far more who he worked with, and that he liked, respected and enjoyed his colleagues’ company.
May we pursue our paths, cultivating relationships so we all can be whole,