Are You Naughty or Nice? A Coworkers Perspective

Fall is a time of transition and drawing in. The holidays are around the corner and with them extra focus on family & tradition. It’s a wonderful season. But do we allow it to permeate our workspace? I want to shift the focus from family to your coworkers. We spend so much time with these people, sometimes even more time than we have with our actual families & friends. Every thing in life has a cycle for change and maybe you need a refresher for your work relationships.

So, how are your relationships with your coworkers?

I’ve noticed that if you put two young children in a room together, they don’t notice the color of each others skin, they don’t ask what religion they believe in, they don’t care how much money is in their piggy bank. But when we are all grown up we change, and suddenly these things really matter, or seem like they do and we allow them to create division and discord amongst us.

I am amazed at how much I have in common with the people I work with, we have more in common than we do in difference. We all have the same basic needs, food, water, air, shelter, love and respect. But beyond that we share a love of our profession, a deep compassion for people in grief, and a united desire to serve & support our families.

What can you do to build upon the foundation you have laid with your coworkers regardless of how it stands now? Can you build trust and meaning into your interactions?

Here is a simple approach to look at when you are willing to deepen your relationships.

Tell the Truth – Most of the time this isn’t too much of a struggle but I have found that when it comes to telling the truth in conflict or difficult times, many people would rather not talk at all rather than say something “risky”.

Sometimes we stop communicating with each other because we think others should be able to know what we’re thinking – we expect them to “read our minds”. Has that ever worked for you? It hasn’t for me. If we are ever going to build a true relationship we have to be willing to be fearless and bold. If you had something hanging from you nose would you want your friend to tell you or just let it stay there? Of course none of us want say “Hey you got a green monster climbing out of its cave”. I know that is a silly little example of being honest with someone, yet no matter what the subject matter telling the truth to someone will help build trust and deepen your relationship.

Be Transparent – This goes along with building trust but should be more selective. Transparence is about risk and vulnerability, if you fear risk or transparency you will never grow into a long lasting, meaningful relationship. Think about the people in your life who you know you could tell anything to anytime of the day or night, good, bad or indifferent – they will still be there for you no matter what because you have invested in each other. I’ve been blessed to have several people I work with love me enough to let me be transparent. What a difference that has made in our work culture.

Be Inclusive, Not Exclusive  – The pack mentality of us vs. them is so strange to me. I wonder why some people prefer to form small clicks to purposely isolate others. When you are not open to meeting new people and developing new perspective’s you miss out on opportunities of new growth and different ideas.

A narrow mind is a narrow heart, and an open heart leads to an open mind.

Break Bread – I believe the best way to get to know someone is having a meal with them. When you take time to spend at least one hour out of your day to eat and be open about your life’s journey, you will find how much you have in common with the person across the table from you. I love asking people icebreaker questions like, “Where are you from?” or “Where did you grow up?” That usually seems to be a great starting point to get to know someone.

Go Deeper – We are not meant to stay in the shallow end of the pool, we are designed to go swim in the deep waters of life. If you really want to live a meaningful life you will never find it in social status, or the amount of money you make. You will find the true meaning when you are willing to deepen and strengthen your personal relationships. Ask anyone on their deathbed what they would do differently – if they could go back and redo their life again. The common answer of a dying person is centered around relationships, love, happiness, & friendships. I believe our work place is a great environment to develop our relationships.

How efforts can you make to deepen and strengthen your relationships at work?

Molly Keating
Molly Keating
Hello! I'm Molly and I run & manage the Blog here at O'Connor. I grew up in a mortuary with a mortician for a father who's deep respect for the profession inspired me to give working at a mortuary a try. Work at O'Connor has brought together two of my deep passions, writing & grief awareness. In 2016 I earned Certification in the field of Thanatology, the study of Death, Dying and Bereavement. I am honored to be able to speak on these taboo topics with knowledge, compassion, and a unique perspective. I want to sincerely thank you for following & reading the blog, I hope that this is a healing place for you.

24 Comments

  1. Joe says:

    I like to take the nice approach not the naughty way as I have in the past… I have a great family here and I am blessed everyday I can continue to come here and add to an already strong team and family. The care and concern I have been very fortunate to have experienced here in the past can never be measured in words alone thats why I feel our actions speak louder than words and strive to help anyway I can, also an icebreaker lunch with friends can always be fun. Thank You for your vision.

    Sincerely
    Joe

    • Hi Joe –

      We are one big family like it or not! I have enjoyed our friendship over the years, we are growing old together like a married couple. Remember when you loved to hate me? Love conquers ALL!

  2. But being naughty can be so much fun…
    But you have to be nice first to build that trust and deepen that relationship to get to a point where you are comfortable doing and saying anything. I like your bullet point on transparency “No Risk No Reward” we have to become vulnerable to some degree to be able to allow others in. That is when the true relationship begins when you can open up and not feel judged, just supported. Thanks for reminding us to to be cognizant of our interactions and making the most of them when they are in front of us. Neil, I have appreciated our relationship over the last two decades, It is not always perfect but I know we support and care for each other and we continue to grow. Love ya.

    Chuck

    • Hi Chuck –

      You have been one of the greatest role models for me and the team! You have the ability to make others feel included and welcomed with true sense of friendship. Your calm nonemotional personality helps us stay grounded and focused. I have enjoyed our many hats we wear in our relationship, my favorite hat is our friendship hat, all other hats are secondary to our friendship!

  3. Shayna Mallik says:

    Neil,
    How true it is that we spend so much time here in the work place, this is truly my second home and family. The love and compassion everyone has here is amazing and I look forward to coming to work each day. Thank you so mich for all you do and leading by example.

    • Hi Shayna –

      We can pick our friends, yet we cannot always pick our family or co-workes. That is what makes life so challenging, we all have so many gifts and talents to share with each other. You have the gift of making others feel welcome and included, I enjoy your positive attitude. Please keep shining it makes a difference and goes a long way!

  4. Lori says:

    Neil,

    I used to be the person who didn’t want to make waves. “I can’t say anything or they will be mad.” So I would be the one to internalize it and become angry. I have learned that a few minutes of uncomfortable is completely worth restoring relationships.
    Coming from a very small family I definitely view my work friends as family. I have developed relationships here that I know will be meaningful for years to come.
    Great topic!
    Lori

    • Hi Lori –

      Waves can be good if the information is presented in a professional manner. Even though we are passionate people there are very few, if any things that are really worth getting mad at during work. If we all stand on common ground we can come back to the center point of the goal, “to serve each other”. I see you on a daily basis of serving and learning how to become a better co-worker. Keep up the great work you are a true professional!!

  5. amy says:

    Neil,
    You are so right about how we spend more time with those at work then we do with our own families. I look at the people here as my second family. I look forward to coming to work each day. I really enjoy the people I work with. Thank you for your leadership and commitment to making the company what it is.
    Amy

    • Hi Amy –

      To some degree we can pick our teammates, yet we can’t always pick our family. We ALL have the pleasure of learning from each other, good, bad or ugly. I love the challenges we present to each other everyday. Lead with passion and compassion and the rest will get done!

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