“When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: The people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous, and surly. They are like this because they can’t tell good from evil. But I have seen the beauty of good, and the ugliness of evil, and have recognized that the wrongdoer has a nature related to my own—not of the same blood or birth, but the same mind, and possessing a share of the divine………. ― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
At work, we recently ran whole organisation management meeting day. I am not sure if you do these in your place of work, but in ours, we have a day where we bring together all of the managers, supervisors and team leads from across the division, to share key messages and also help develop and share common programmes of activity across all the teams. Our theme was all around leadership and employee engagement.
We try to get external speakers along to these events. It makes them more interesting and also, helps to provide a different perspective on the day. FOr our event, we invited Dr Risk Norris, who is a visiting Consultant Psychologist at a Hospital in the Midlands where he counsels clients suffering from stress, anxiety and depression. He has also written a book on positive thinking Think Yourself Happy – the simple 6-step programme to change your life from within. So my interest, both work-related, as well as from a counselling perspective was peeked.
Hs talk was around leadership and he introduced the results of a Gallup survey on “Productive Culture at Work”. The top ten items people rated were listed and he asked us to choose the single most important one, that most people rated, above everything else. The list is below. Take a moment and you choose.
The Gallup “Productive Culture Survey”,
- know what is expected of me at work
- I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work well
- At work, my manager gives me the opportunity to do what I do best everyday
- I receive recognition or praise for good work from my manager
- My manager seems to care about me as a person
- My manager encourages my development
- At work, my manager takes my opinions into account
- My co-workers are committed to doing quality work
- I talk with my manager about my progress
- My manager gives me opportunities to learn and develop
Did you choose one?
Now, you might be surprised, or not; that THE most important aspect that people rated was……. drum roll, please………………………
Number 5. My manager seems to care about me as a person.
The idea of caring for someone else. Not the artificial “have a great day” variety. But genuine, honest kindness in another human being. Something that is at the heart of the Loving Kindness meditation practice that I practice. Caring for your colleagues at work has long been discussed, but few managers actually engage with their staff and care. I checked out the latest global engagement survey results from Gallup and they make for really sad reading. Check them out below.
Only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged at work, according to Gallup’s 2013 142-country study on the State of the Global Workplace. In other words, about only one in eight workers, are psychologically committed to their jobs and likely to be making positive contributions to their organizations. Even if you read the latest UK reports, employee engagement is in the low 30% mark in the UK.
This means, that for most people, 70% or more, feel disengaged at work. Work, that is the greatest part of their lives. No wonder, stress, depression and loneliness are on the increase. You can talk about employee engagement programmes. You can send managers on training courses and retreats. However, it is the everyday acts of kindness that we show to each other that make the difference. Genuine, honest individual acts of kindness.
The question is, is the ability to stay focused on the present moment in a non-judgmental way a powerful catalyst for resilience? New research from India points to a partial answer: Mindfulness breeds resilience.
That’s the conclusion of researchers Badri Bajaj and Neerja Pande. Writing in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, they confirm that psychological resilience is more pronounced in mindful people. The researchers also provide evidence that this highly useful quality produces many of the practice’s much-touted benefits.
They describe a study featuring 327 undergraduates (236 men and 91 women). The students completed a series of surveys measuring their mindfulness, life satisfaction, emotional state, and level of resilience—the ability to cope in difficult situations, and bounce back from adversity.
Mindfulness—or a lack thereof—was measured by their responses to 15 assertions, such as “I tend to walk quickly to get where I’m going without paying attention to what I experience along the way.” To gauge their resilience, participants were presented with 10 self-descriptive statements, including “able to adapt to change,” “can stay focused under pressure,” and are “not easily discouraged by failure.” They responded to each on a five-point scale (“not at all” to “true nearly all of the time”).
As predicted, the researchers found “individuals with higher mindfulness have greater resilience, thereby increasing their life satisfaction.” “Mindful people … can better cope with difficult thoughts and emotions without becoming overwhelmed or shutting down (emotionally),” they write. “Pausing and observing the mind may (help us) resist getting drawn into wallowing in a setback.”
Put another way, mindfulness “weakens the chain of associations that keep people obsessing about” their problems or failures, which increases the likelihood they will try again. in addition, mindfulness also promotes self-compassion, which leads to higher levels of happiness.
I leave you with the following quote……. it is the second half of the quote that started this article.
…….. And so none of them can hurt me. No one can implicate me in ugliness. Nor can I feel angry at my relative, or hate him. We were born to work together like feet, hands, and eyes, like the two rows of teeth, upper and lower. To obstruct each other is unnatural. To feel anger at someone, to turn your back on him: these are obstructions.” ― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations