those staffers who do not want to be part of the negativity or participate
in the drama of office politics but would rather find the
harmony and tranquility of the moral and ethical high road
of the daily work routine, I offer you the following observations.
Everyone would like to consider that they belong. This desire reflects
the natural desire to be acknowledged for their presence. It is
a much greater feeling to know that you are an asset to the situation.
By your presence, you add value to the business,
to the team, and to your own sense of personal satisfaction of a
job well done.
you were first hired, there was an assumption that you would not
only fill the job description, but that your personality would add
to the human experience of working together day after day. Being
perceived as valuable demands that you do more than your
job description and behave more than just as an individual
member of a group. Being valuable implies that your absence creates
a void, which is not easily filled. Being valuable implies that
your presence improves the probabilities for everyone’s success.
leader of the team can be valued for their leadership, just as easily
as the receptionist can be valued for her ability to communicate
as a liaison between customer and staff. It is the ability to go
beyond the job description of leader or receptionist
that creates a sense of value.
you are not in the office and you return, do people express the
fact that they missed you? When you are not in the office, does
anyone make an effort to call you to find out how you are feeling
or to ask you a question regarding procedure? When you are in the
office is your advice sought or are people interested in sharing
their feelings and experiences with you?
reflective of your value is present when you return to the office.
Are there big smiles when someone sees you? The ability to be valuable
is not incorporated in what you say. Rather, your value is reflected
in how you answer and when you choose to comment.
It is the ability to respect the feelings and the boundaries of
other people that allows others to value your presence. Is your
ability to remain quiet or your ability to spontaneously make changes
and adapt that creates value.
is a very subtle virtue and it is unreasonable to expect that all
people will be or can be perceived as valuable; however, it is essential
that you understand and recognize that to be perceived as valuable
is an honor, and to recognize the value of others is a natural gift.
This honor and gift is returned to you in the form of sincere acknowledgments
such as, “I'm happy you are back.”
Being perceived as a helpful individual is reward for some, but
not for all. Being helpful could be described as being interested
in putting in the extra effort when it is necessary or when
it is unnecessary. For some people, putting in the extra
effort make sense, because it takes them closer to getting the job
done; however, there are also people who put in the extra effort
in order to be liked by other people. This motivation stems from
a neediness that is easily camouflaged by self-denial and grandiose
visions of oneself.
It is fair to say that occasionally everyone in the office may need
someone's help; however, it is also fair to say that not everyone
likes to ask for help, and if they ask for help, there are only
certain people that they would ask. I believe it is reasonable to
decide what kind of person you are. Are you someone
who wants to be asked for help because of the positive feelings
that come with sharing that particular experience, or are you someone
that would rather not be helpful because this experience aligns
you with someone who you perceive as weaker than yourself.
you see yourself at the bottom of the continuum of power, then everyone
is perceived as potentially helpful. If you see yourself at the
top of the range of power, then only certain people will be perceived
as having the ability to aid you in a particular situation. It is
important to dissect this issue in order to recognize
that being perceived as helpful and asking for help are not necessarily
the clear-cut behaviors that you would wish they were.
people ask for help in order to reinforce their inadequate
self-image and some people ask for help because they are
manipulative and lazy. Some people are graciously available to help
anyone, because they harbor feelings of inadequacy, and some people
are graciously available to help only certain people who are worthy
of their time.
our purposes, let me offer you the following guidelines. A person
called into the next room having two healthy legs should be allowed
to walk unassisted. A person faced with the same challenge
but who has a broken leg that has not been put in a cast might ask
for help and would consider you helpful if you aided them. However,
consider the person who has a broken leg that is in a cast and has
crutches. Should you help them go to the next room?
If you make an attempt to help them without being asked, then you
may remind them of their inadequacy and they will not consider you
helpful. If you let them hobble to the next room on their own, they
may be reminded that they can still pull their weight, if only slowly,
and consider you helpful for letting them make the effort. By allowing
people their dignity and not offering to be helpful inappropriately,
you actually are more helpful than if you insist on paving the way
for them. It is the inability to recognize the boundaries of dignity
and respect that are really the topic in this question.
helpful feels good, it naturally feels good to help someone; however,
this natural feeling comes with a consideration. You must consider
whether you are helping yourself or helping the other person. When
you cross someone's boundaries and do something
that they can do for themselves, you are not being helpful. When
someone invites you to cross their boundaries to help them do something
they cannot do for themselves, then this is perceived as being helpful.
Notice the key term is invited
Thus, what I want to emphasize is that although it feels good to
be helpful, you have to be invited to be helpful, to offer aid,
to perform in place of that person. It is the concept
of invitation that allows you the privilege of being
helpful. If you can wait for the invitation, then you will be perceived
as helpful and appreciated. You know that you have truly been perceived
as helpful when you receive a bold “Thank You”
Next week, I will conclude this list of politically correct
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