In today’s fast paced world full of never-ending negative social media blitzes, over-hyped reality television, shock-jocks/journalist rants, and larger than life politicians, it appears that the concept of being gracious to one another has been lost. People are too focused on trying to get our attention with outrageous and unkind behaviour. They fail to see that the simple act of being gracious can have a more positive and lasting outcome and, yes, get our attention too!
In speaking with contractors, I always ask them why they left their last place of work. Did the contract end? What were the people like? What was the work environment like? I often hear how negative workplaces have become, how managers and executives don’t seem to care, and that everyone is too stressed out to focus on basic human decency. This is one of the main reasons contractors do not take an extension with a current client or want to leave a project early. On the other side of the coin, “Was a candidate gracious?” is not the top reference question a client asks, but they do ask if that person was a team player and were they easy to get along with. Therefore, there’s an argument for everyone, clients and independent contractors, to bring graciousness back into the workplace. So how do we do that?
The simple act of saying THANK YOU goes a really long way. Often, people will stay in a busy work environment if they know they are working with great people in a team who recognize their effort.
Another easy way is by being in the moment— giving someone your full attention and time. When you are in a meeting, or even more importantly, speaking with someone directly, put away your device. It shows the person you respect them and value what they have to say.
Give positive feedback along with the negative. People want to hear the good and the bad but want to hear it in a constructive manner. Graciousness goes along way when working with others on how to improve their work. You can still get the same message across without being overly negative.
Be open to helping others. How? Some simple ways:
If a new person joins the team, introduce them to others.
Say HI to your co-workers
Recognize people’s achievements – privately and publicly
Share your project knowledge capital and help them get set up for success
I know graciousness is sometimes hard to embrace because it demands our time and it can seem counter intuitive to business strategies that promote looking out for #1. However, graciousness does lead to a better workplace. A better workplace leads to happier people, and happier people lead to better project outcomes, which lead to better references and more work in the future. WIN-WIN-WIN for all!