Tonight as we await the election results I retreated, and compiled a list of the four qualities found in the perfect employee, or for that matter neighbor, son, daughter, or any other role you can imagine. I’ll hope my President has these four qualities.
To start, consider this example-how pleasant can a restaurant experience be if your server is blah? If your server exhibits no enthusiasm, how likely are you to enjoy their interaction?
How about a tour guide- does a tour guide’s voice inflection matter? Does a spoonful of cheerfulness enhance the tour?
The first element to the ideal employee or colleague is enthusiasm. Not the MOST important; I will get to that. Yet enthusiasm is the special sauce that transforms the strong colleague to splendid. Still, enthusiasm is just the sauce. Let’s face it, we experience enthusiasm misplaced all too often. Many of the worst horrors in human behavior have been conducted with enthusiasm, so we cannot view enthusiasm as our keystone. But we do want it once we’ve captured the next 3 keys. The best concert you ever experienced was performed with enthusiasm; your best professor had great enthusiasm for the content and the opportunity to share it and to teach it to you; your best waitress wanted to be in the restaurant that night.
The next key to the perfect employee is being fresh; maybe a good synonym is unprocessed. We want a fresh approach that does not hug “been there, done that” at every opportunity. No, rather the second key is that our ideal colleague be invigorating and vibrant.
Is fresh then the most important aspect? No, far from it actually. Fresh too rests upon other, more critical factors. If I stick to the theme referenced above and enthusiasm is our sauce, then fresh is our spice. The salt and pepper, so-to-speak. We want enthusiasm and fresh in this ideal colleague.
The third key, and those who read by blog regularly now have a sense of where I am heading, is a positive attitude. It may not astonish you at this point to know I don’t consider the positive attitude as the most critical element. After all, I am hoping you’ll read through to the end. I buried the lead.
Whether or not you continue to read is entirely up to you. That is because, among other things, you have free will. You can do whatever you want to do, and by that I really mean whatever you want. We were put on this earth with free will, and that should never be overlooked. That is an enormously positive element of our everyday life and far too easy to take for granted. You decide your future. You have the helm.
With very few exceptions, we also were given the ability to learn. Only those who cannot learn are unskilled. Everyone else is skilled. If you can learn, you have the most important skill.
So at the very least you have free will and you can learn. A great start, yet there is so much more to consider.
When I worked at the Waldorf, we had many inspirational groups. To my mind, none more so that the Challenged Athlete’s Foundation, though Wounded Warriors was awfully close.
One year I was in the Silver Corridor of the hotel prior to the CAF banquet with a dozen of my colleagues; we’d just helped set the ballroom. Many attendees were milling about early just to soak it in; a truly glamorous setting. In walk these two teenage girls, though maybe not even that old. One original leg between the two of them, the other three legs being prosthetics. Both girls glammed up. Cute dresses; hair and make-up popping; very crisp gals. Giggling like they were the luckiest girls in the world. Just two thirteen year olds in new cocktail dresses at their first gala.
Someone evidently had not properly informed them of how disabled they were. I don’t recall what sports they played but it did not take a rocket scientist to realize these girls did not self-identify as having ANYTHING wrong with them. And you know what? They were right. There was not one damn thing wrong with them. Not that I could see! Nor could anyone else see anything wrong with them. They sure didn’t SEEM challenged.
Those two girls clearly understood they could do whatever they wanted to do. Like you.
Yet what made that event special was not those just two, but that the whole dang ballroom was full of ‘em. Folks with the same outlook. Positive. That is what that ballroom emanated. It was a room of positive people. And it was contagious.
The fact that being positive is contagious is lost on folks. We all know negativity can be catching, but we can overlook our impact on others when we are positive.
You are not a victim. Not unless you admit to it. Not unless you believe you are a victim. If you believe you are a victim, then of course it is true, and you are a victim. The victimizer? That unholy, evil victimizer? Might be more than one, but the one who counts is easy to find, because said victimizer can always be found in the morning. Right about the time you are brushing your teeth at the sink. You’ll spot this victimizer in your mirror. Yes, you negative folks, you are well acquainted with your chief nemesis.
If you do not work to be positive, you are a knucklehead of the first order. You have one shot on this rock we call Earth circling its minor star; one chance to get it right. You are not gonna get it right if you are negative.
Speak positively about work and your employer at home. Ensure your family and friends know you take work seriously and that you want to be a contributor
What happens when you denigrate your employer, your colleagues, your workplace? You think you make the family better with this influence? You think you are the good role model for your kids when you talk about how screwed up your boss is? You think you are modeling the behaviors which will put your children on a successful trajectory? You think your friends respect you more because you are “keepin it real”? If so, you are with the crowd you deserve, because it is a club of losers and you might be club president. Small p.
The best dads, the best colleagues, the best neighbors, the best citizens, the best waiters, the best tour guides……. they are among other things positive. They don’t bitch in the wrong places about work; they try in little ways and sometimes big to make their workplaces better.
Can you be good in small spheres as a negative Nellie? Sure. Yet in my orbit you’d have red rings all over your torso. Red rings caused by the ten-foot pole I use to keep you away from me.
Positive is the starch in our proverbial meal……maybe I am taking the culinary analogy too far, but in any event, positive is really quite important. Yet not the foundation. Positive rests behind one other, more important, attribute.
The foundation of that ideal colleague, that perfect employee, or friend, or wife, is the concept of productive. Our ideal colleague really strives to be productive in what they do.
Productive requires understanding the mission. It requires embracing the mission. It mandates running toward the mission. Loving the sensation of working toward a goal, hopefully in concert with others. A productive wife wants a healthy and loving family, and if husband does too then you have the chance for a fairy tale ending.
I wrote several months ago about an orchestra, and the different parts that are required of all to play a symphony. No matter how talented the first violin might be, the first violin will play no symphonies. Not alone. But an orchestra? Yes, an orchestra can play a symphony.
Folks who are productive get on the dance floor. Rarely are they wallflowers. Productive folks don’t just think in terms of being part of the solution. They understand that if they are not part of the problem, they are part of the problem. Spectators are not particularly productive.
Productive manifests itself in tone of voice. Messaging from a productive person sounds productive. Often gentle. It does not try to condemn- it CAN condemn but that is not the goal of a productive performer.
Productive manifests itself in suggestions. It takes no special talent to identify common problems. The talent lies in trying to resolve problems.
Productive is not selfish. Selfishness has no place on a team. It does not live here.
Productive chases the goal for the good of the team. Productive leaves no man behind, especially the less talented. Hey, its easy to love the lovable- grace resides with those who love the unlovable. Productive helps those who need the most attention.
When the Marines go up a hill with a unit of 20, and come back down with 19, what happens? They go back for their guy. Semper Fi. Always True. Always loyal. They don’t take attendance to see if the man left behind is popular.
The strength of the wolf is the pack. The strength of the pack is………wait for it……. the wolf.
I hope you get productive, because nothing else matters if the effort is not toward the shared goal. Otherwise all effort is a waste of time, a waste of resources, and a waste of dignity.
Make your brand PPFE. You don’t have to announce it, but make your personal brand PPFE. Be positive, productive, fresh, and enthusiastic.