Happy New Year! Well sort of…
I think it safe to say that this time of year has a new-beginning feel to it.
In some ways, it’s even more obvious than the official New Year, which is more about a date changing on a calendar.
For most people, this time of year is about things starting again. Our weather can start to turn, the leaves begin to change colour, the air starts to feel a little different, and my favourite thing… school starts again.
But this is the best one: You and the people you work with have had a bit of a break.
You and the people you work with have had a chance for some renewal, a chance for some re-vitalization, re-invigoration, have taken the time for a bit of a pause and reset, have perhaps taken some time for reflection.
That why this time of year is so great for building relationships with people. It’s a great time to build trust.
Hey Sam. Hey Ralph.
The trouble with working with someone every day is… well…you see them everyday.
Not that that’s a bad thing. I’m sure they’re perfectly nice folks. But we all tend to take the people we see every day a little bit for granted. They become part of our routine, so much so that we might not have that much to say to one another.
We might say a brief “hello, how ya doing today?” and then it’s on to the work we have to do.
Because we see the same folks almost everyday, our relationships can slip into the mundane.
Because we are all creatures of routine, even the people we see and talk to frequently become… well…. routine.
Sorry, I’m fading…
Usually at this point in my posts, I tell a little story about something relevant to the subject.
But my story this time is that I have no story. At the time of writing this post, I haven’t had my break yet. I haven’t had a chance to rest, renew, and relax.
I haven’t taken the time to shut this computer for a couple of weeks and let my brain go elsewhere. I haven’t really stopped thinking about, or doing, work. I know I’ve pushed it a little late this year but I’m about to do it.
One thing I am noticing is that I really need to have a break. My productivity is waning. My attention span is getting shorter. My ideas are fewer.
I have to work a little harder at coming up with things to write about that I feel are valuable to you, my readers. And thanks for being one of those, by the way!
Maybe you read my blog to see what happens when someone who’s not actually a writer writes an almost weekly blog. (I suppose there’s a certain entertainment value in that but really, if that’s you, then you’ve got to have better things to do).
Hopefully you read it because you get something out it that makes your day, your week or your life a little better. That’s the plan anyway. Feel free to keep me on that task by commenting or suggesting. It’s lonely work, writing.
But I digress. Back to this wonderful time of year that is upon us.
You can learn a lot about people.
Hopefully you’re not like me and you’ve had your break.
Hopefully over the summer, you’ve been growing. (I don’t mean putting on weight although that’s possible). I mean you (and your colleagues) have been adding to your list of life experiences. You’ve been thinking, reading, relaxing, travelling, catching up with friends and family.
The summer is the time of year when many people do things that are truly important to them. They have been taking part in activities that they chose to do and not ones they’ve had to do.
And what someone does with their money and their free time is very telling about who they are.
So knowing that, here’s my advice for the coming weeks…
Whenever you see someone that you haven’t seen in a while, take this chance to get to know each other a little better. It’s a chance to deepen your relationships and build trust.
Stop what you are doing and ask questions.
People just love to talk about their holiday / vacation. Why? Because they probably put a lot of time and effort into planning it. It’s a really good indication of their tastes, their personality, and the things they like to do when they’re not working.
Your job is to ask questions:
How was your vacation?
Where did you go?
What did you do?
What did you love about it?
What wasn’t so great?
And here’s the best one… what did you learn?
What would you do differently?
The advice might be something big like they solved the meaning of life (probably not but if it is, please feel free to pm me about that) or it might be they learned something from a mistake they made. It doesn’t matter. But because you asked, now you get to learn from them (and you didn’t have to pay the money for the trip). You can get the Reader’s Digest version.
You just have to ask a couple of questions and, voila, you’ve gained some knowledge that might help you in the future.