As you reflect on 2015, I encourage you to think of your closest personal relationships. Who do you enjoy spending time with regularly? What qualities, if any, do these people have in common? More than likely, intentional thoughtfulness is included in these connections. Are you applying this quality at work? Check out the quick tips below to see if thoughtfulness in the office should be added to your 2016 resolutions.
Access Your Empathy
In order to be empathetic, you need to be able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Instead of becoming frustrated with a coworker who continues to miss work, try to understand what is keeping them away from the office. Do they have a sick child or spouse at home needing them right now? Are they struggling with their own sickness and wishing they were in the office instead of stuck in bed? Perhaps they are stressed about the amount of work they are missing, which is feeding the illness they are already battling. Does your irritation make the situation any better? Remember that your moment of inconvenience may be incredibly small compared to what the individual is undergoing. Be there for others in the way you hope someone would be there for you in the same situation.
Ask More Questions
Have you ever found yourself trapped in a one-way conversation? You were excited to catch up with someone, maybe to share exciting news of your own, but the individual never asks about you. As the person who was just ‘talked at’ for thirty minutes, you will likely feel a little less inclined to approach that person again with exciting news to share. When catching up with others, no matter how long it has been, remember to ask intentional questions about them. Generous communication involves trusting others to share equal interest in your life. It should never be a one-way street.
Sometimes we need to vent, cry, or simply share a long story. When this is the case, it’s important to let the person you’re speaking with know where the answer to their question will take the conversation – or to use your best judgment based on the individual’s personality and relationship with you. If you walk into the office on Monday morning and answer, “How was your weekend?” with an uncomfortable story sharing far too many details of your personal life, others will think twice before asking again. Keep your audience in mind when responding to a question, as the receptionist may not be interested in details your mom would enjoy.
Your turn: What are your New Year’s resolutions for 2016?