The majority of our days are spent with people in some form or fashion. In the workplace, you encounter people in many situations and often with different outcomes. Even though we spend the bulk of our time at work, we don’t really have “deep” relationships.
This isn’t bad. In fact, the reality is taking relationships deeper at work can be tenuous. The dynamics in the workplace need balance in order for them to be effective. Collaboration comes from a healthy give and take with folks. You can have very close friends you work with, but I think that leaves a gap that most of us want filled.
Do you have folks you can “get real” with? Someone who really challenges you and makes you dissect your views, opinions, etc. to have you take time to be introspective. Someone who doesn’t automatically agree with you. If you don’t, you should.
Why do you need someone like this?
It’s necessary because the culture in most organizations strives for conformity. Conformity of thought, actions, appearance, etc. And, unfortunately, most HR people love this! The least resistance makes our jobs comfortable. If people “fall in line,” then we think we’re being effective and doing our jobs.
The opposite is actually what should be our goal. One of my great friends who makes me go deep just reminded me – “If you’re comfortable, you’re not growing.” So true! Having someone who you can bounce ideas off who isn’t in your organization is great because they don’t have the same filters and assumed culture that your workplace inherently has.
There are some key things to consider if you have someone to go deep with:
- It has to be interactive and not one sided! – This isn’t a forum or venue for someone to just be a sage, mentor or someone who espouses their opinions. This is dialogue. You both have to press each other.
- It has to be intentional! – You can set time aside to have conversations, but make sure it’s top of mind and timely. This isn’t a therapy session. It’s a chance to lock horns with someone when you need to hit them up. Also, anything goes in these interactions. You have to understand that you’re trying to be stretched here, but that it’s still safe.
- It has to be genuine! – Whenever I have these conversations, it’s raw, passionate and direct. You never hear catch phrases or HRspeak – EVER! In fact, it’s how most people would love to express themselves in companies if they could. You know that you can be open with the others involved because they have this expectation as well.
- It has to be limited! – I would limit the number of folks you engage in deep conversations. Why? Most people won’t do it well. That’s a real shame, but most won’t take the time or really dive in when they talk. People want to keep things at the surface level which is cool. But, it also never fills the gap to stretch beyond your norms.
So, this week, if you don’t have someone you can go deep with, find somone. If you have someone, give them a ring to talk to them. This goes beyond electronic forms of communication and demands a relationship. Trust me. If you get a few of these folks around you, you will become the businessperson that your company truly wants around!
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