Throughout my career, if I have done anything, I have paid attention to every note and every word I sing…If I cannot project this to a listener, I fail
– Frank Sinatra
A Google search on ‘ideal workplace’ returns around 3,00,00,000-4,00,00,000 results! Now that’s something on everyone’s minds. But to my surprise, the results were on the lines of what / how to respond to interviewers in this regard. After all, the organization would want to know your idea too to gauge if you would be a right fit for their culture and work ethos.
The reason this topic got me thinking was, we surely expect benefits from our organizations, but what do WE do to truly make OUR workplace an ideal one for US? Agreed, a lot of aspects such as culture, benefits, compensation, and people are set from the organization’s end, but what about our environment, our interactions? A lot of which is under our control too. Looking at the corporate world and assessing situations, I see that, after all, it takes two to tango! Paying heed to our interactions, networking & poise are sacrosanct. While these may seem insignificant in the larger scheme of things, they certainly do hold their own value.
I’d say these pillars are what really constitute our workplaces. Doing good work is just part of the equation, there are other parts to it too, which I might add, definitely augment one’s efforts. While none of this is rocket science in cognizance, do we look at these factors as a whole to ensure our actions culminate into making our workplace ideal? Why do we probably not have ourselves an ideal workplace – No challenging work? Customers are a pain? Not a great team? Culture mismatch? A crazy boss driving you up the wall? How do you deal with these impediments? Not such a tough job, if you break it down.
- Creating your personal brand:
Your work at work defines you, in the professional scene. It goes without saying we all strive to give our best! Each of us has a whole lot of different skill sets, few skills that we excel at & these are probably skills that are not being utilized in your current role; network, venture out and check on the possibilities of working on that coveted assignment, of course keeping your manager intimated! The experience will no doubt add to your repertoire of skills. This especially helps if you are not in such a great equation with your manager, yet your supervisors get to hear of you from other quarters!
- Customer’s perception of you:
Another important, I’d say crucial pillar of your success at work.Know your customers’ pulse. It goes without saying that each of us work towards delivering and satisfying our customers. Know what works for them, what ticks them off. For me, being an HR professional, my employees being my customers, I had to know what & how to engage them. Be it launching a new initiative or being genuine with them to resolve their issues, I had to understand their pulse. What works for them, what does not – I had to keep this in mind before taking off on any project.
I saw through my experience that being genuine, proactive, innovative and adding a touch of personalization via my work is what really made me love my work. Add value to business, and how would you do that? Understand the business first; see where you can fit in the picture to offer your services. This is where being proactive counts. If you can think of ways to engage people via creative new means, nothing like it.
This is when one really strikes the chord. And when your customers are happy, your efforts are definitely rewarded well. Just skimming through and delivering what is expected, well yes, you’d be giving your 100%, but going that extra mile to give your 150% is what really gets the ball rolling. Going out of your way and beyond to get your customer engaged is what truly motivates a professional and I believe striving towards this will no doubt garner positive reviews about you. So go on, give it not just the best shot at delivering, but delighting your customers!
- Team interactions:
We all love to have a great team, perfect colleagues, but in reality – we know the truth! Nonetheless, working along with that one difficult person in your team, that one irritating personality, we’ve been there! Friction is bound to occur; we are human beings at the end of day – emotional creatures. But what really sets an intelligent team member apart from the others in dealing with such situations is the amount of emotional intelligence displayed while working alongside a ‘difficult’ team member.
Handling interpersonal relations judiciously, with maturity & working empathetically is what is going to set you apart from the others. After all, when one has to work closely with someone day in & day out, it is better to have the equation smooth rather than invite trouble. And team interactions are important, to say the least, to really define your ideal workplace. And trust me, when you’re at loggerheads with someone in the team, it clearly shows. We don’t want that unwanted attention, do we? Making it work together…to work together surely helps!
- Personality / Cultural fit:
Each of us comes with our own traits of individuality. No two of us are identical wholly in our traits. We all know this. But on entering an organization, we definitely need to abide by its ethos. Not that we need to let go of our individuality, but surely step into the realm of the organization’s DNA. Sure there are a bunch of us who believe in ‘Being Ourselves’, and I salute that, but what would really work is Being Yourself, in sync with the organization’s philosophy and culture in mind.
We probably do have opinions about a lot of things, be it professional / personal. Gauge from your interactions and working with your peers / managers if your organization’s culture is truly one which respects diverse opinions. There are quite a few places which might not value an upfront opining. So, watch out! Assess what you might want to say, where and to whom. Take the time, feel your environment first!
- Bosses / Supervisors / Managers:
Yeah, I’ve kept the best for the last!
A good percentage of you reading this would have definitely worked with a difficult boss. Difficult not in the sense of being demanding, but well, let’s just say we did not share such a great equation with them! How do you deal with such people and what do you not do to get your career graph plummeting.
Here is where maturity and smart play comes into the picture. Dealing with such bosses and high pressure situations tends to sharpen your emotional intelligence. Be able to manage your feelings and behavioral outcomes in accordance to the situation. It is not easy, but keeping in mind the larger scheme of operations, professional setting, and what the impact would be definitely helps. Everyone has a different working style, a demeanor. My learning from the experiences with lousy bosses have been great, yes, I say great, since it has definitely made me smarter and taught me how to identify different traits and their core values!
Why does he/she do certain things in a certain manner? Put yourself in their position, assess the situation from there. Probably competition from their peers, a demanding higher up; figure out the real deal. Once you’ve got that, try to opine your views and suggestions in line with what his/her goals are. Try to align your working style and end results to sync with what he/she has in mind and is working towards.
A narcissistic manager is a toughie; he/she can ruin your career if you go against him/her. They usually have a self esteem that is weak and would usually depend on how much they are liked by others! Try not to overshadow them with your smartness or intelligence. A control freak – Had a boss who micromanages you? Has to have the absolute control of everything? Let them think and ideate on their own, if you give an idea, it will be shot down anyways! Always have a mentor, a confidant, with whom you can share your outbursts with; it will definitely ease off your pressure.
Each job, organization & workplace has its own spirit. Some places might have it perfect, some not that great. A utopian workplace would never have made us what we are today. It is the imperfections that make us practice, learn and shine.
After all, a diamond is just a piece of charcoal that handled stress exceptionally well!
Well, these have been my observations in my professional sphere, look forward to hearing from you all, as to what really makes a workplace ideal, from our end. Let’s have a good conversation going!