What is it about work that makes it so all-consuming? From a particular project to complete, a sales account to be landed, a problem to be solved, a part to be repaired, to a presentation or report to be given, we can find ourselves heads down and so self-engrossed in what we are doing that we miss everything else that is going on around us. I have more than once in my career given feedback to others about how they are not perceived as a team player and at the root of the problem was that they were more concerned about themselves and what they were responsible for, than they were concerned, or even cared for others around them. So, it was not unusual for them to be thought of as a solo type of person. The typical consequences were that they were not sought out by others to be friends or close associates. I found that the go-it-alone people were usually the people who were less likely to stay in one company long and they never seemed happy at work. Paul tells us to not be this way. In Philippians 2:4 he says, “Don’t think only about your own affairs, but be interested in others too, and what they are doing”. I knew a very popular CEO who would just drop into someone’s office or cubicle and say nothing more than, “tell me what you are working on”. Oh, if I could only adequately express to you the look on people’s face when he would do this. There was an immediate uplifting of the person’s face and spirit as they talked about what they were working on and described in detail their successes and challenges. From them beamed a pride in their work. And where did all of this come from? It came from a simple question that was posed because someone else was taking interest in them. How much more effective leaders would be if they would start their days with interest in what others on their team were doing? I believe that this outward interest in others is one of the more powerful forces that could be instilled in the workplace. Morale would palpably improve just by looking outward versus always inward. We already know that we like people who are interested in us, so why not reciprocate and bring that attitude to work today? Instead of holing up in the office, conference room or cubicle and focusing on your own things today, why not take some time early in the day to drop in on a few people and sit down with them and ask them what they are up to and with sincere interest listen to them. With more of this and less of ourselves, we might find that work not only becomes more interesting for ourselves, but also that others take more interest in what you are doing too. And, when that happens then who knows who your next best friend at work might be?
Reference: Philippians 2:4 (New Living Testament)