Friday, 5 August 2011

Reasons to be cheerful ... Part I

It’s Friday! 
Granted, it may not be Friday where you are but Fridays for me are my favourite day of the week.
Not because it signals the end of my working week but because generally, people usually appear to be happy that it’s the beginning of the end of their working week. 
Moods seem brighter; people seem to have a renewed energy to focus-in on the work that needs to be completed before the weekend arrives.  There are conversations about plans for the next two days, a fairly genuine interest in each other’s short-term objectives develops and these discussions invite colleagues to share information about life outside of the working environment.  Some choose not to disclose too much, others will share all of the details – either way, the benefit is that people become more ‘humanized’ and often allow people to get a glimpse of their interests, hobbies and family life.  Subjects that wouldn’t usually surface during discussions over a complex spreadsheet on a Tuesday afternoon!
It’s important to get to know each other at work.  If you know what someone likes then you can sometime make reasonably safe assumptions about what they don’t like.  And so you can begin to build up a picture of their values, beliefs, motivating factors and internal drivers.  Hugely important snippets of information can be shared during these casual encounters. 
You see Jane at the water cooler and ask her what her plans are for the weekend.  Jane is having her elderly mother over to stay until Sunday.  You ask where her mother lives and find out that it’s at least 100 miles away.  Jane’s mother can’t make her own way over because she’s ill, too frail and lives on her own.  So you’ve now learned it’s possible that Jane must at times feel the pressures of having a sick and elderly parent living alone miles away from her.  You realise that  Jane will probably be worried about the journey she needs to take in order to collect her mother and drive her back to her own house.  How does Jane’s young family cope with having an elderly and sick relative staying over?  How will Jane get her mother back to where she lives before the new working week commences? 
Is there anything you can do to help Jane?  Could you let Jane leave early today?  Could you allow Jane to come in a little later on Monday?  Is Jane really okay? 
You get the drift, right?
Of course, I’m not suggesting that you hold weekly interrogative interviews with every member of your workforce!  Nor am I suggesting that you will always be in a position to help.  In many cases, you’re offers of assistance will most likely be declined anyway.  You must tread carefully but the fact that you are listening to what’s being said will provide you with the opportunity to show that you care.  That you are reinforcing the psychological contract between you and the person that you’re working with and importantly, that you understand that life goes on outside of the workplace.  You realise the overall impact of continual outside pressure will inevitably start to manifest itself at work.  And let’s face it; employees usually leave their place of employment because of the attitudes of their managers.  If you’re in any relationship where it’s made clear that the opposite number doesn’t give a hoot about you then the writings on the wall so to speak.  It’s only a matter of time before the relationship ends.
Care for your people.  It’s your job!

Wishing you a very happy and safe weekend and all the best in all that you do.



  1. As I wrote in my blog today, we have a caring problem in sales, business and in life. Your posting provides some quick tactics to overcome that "caring problem." Thanks, and make it a GREAT Day.

    Leanne Hoagland-Smith
    Author of Be the Red jacket

  2. Hi Leanne and thank you.

    Here's wishing you a brilliant weekend :)

  3. I agree. Our actions have an effect on the life environment and work places. Action and reaction. If you care things can be better. I appreciate your vision and your advice.

  4. Beautiful post! Just letting someone know that you care is worth a lot and just giving them an opportunity to share what's going on in their lives is wonderful. Sometimes, what people need most is just a good listener. Thanks for a great (and caring) blog!

  5. Thank you so much Sandra.

    I hope that your weekend turns out just the way you want it to be.

    Best wishes,


  6. Hi Drica,

    Thank you for your contribution and your kind words.

    All teh very best for this new week.


  7. Beautiful post :) Thanks for bringing a smile to my face on this Tuesday (Not so good as Friday's eh? :) ) Listening and showing that you care is important, whether you can do something about it or not, and you spend a lot of hours with your coworkers even if they are not friends or family.

    Hope more people reads this post and thinks of it next time they see a worried co-worker at the coffee machine :)

  8. Thank you Irune. And I agree!

    We spend so many of our waking hours with those that we work with that I believe its important to make it a better place for everyone. Showing that you care is just one way of doing this.

    With best wishes,


  9. Keith.

    It is official. You have just moved into my top ten blogs to visit with this post. This was so refreshing, clear, and timely that it made me "glow." Thanks for posting this message. I hope more people in leadership and management read it!

  10. Caring for your people.. so well put. We all know how to care for family and friends, but neighbors and co-workers and people in general.. what a great article.. thanks a bunch... Lynda

  11. What a wonderful post, Keith. And well said...caring for people is not just good interpersonal conduct, it's good business, too. A staff that feels "cared for," whether that means something like "respected" or "valued," is usually a staff that will rise up and at least have the capacity to achieve great things together. Thanks for this simple and poignant reminder.

  12. Hello Everybody!

    Here's hoping that this message finds you all in the very best of health and fortune..

    @Jermaine: Likewise my friend! You're posts are always an inspiration. Please everyone... check out Jermaine's blog. It really lifts you into a positive mindset.

    @Lynda: Thank you! So kind. I'm glad you enjoyed the read and I am excited about visiting your blog today.

    @marketingthingy: Just love that name :) Thank you also for your kind words. I shall also be paying your site another visit today.

    Best wishes to all,


  13. Hi Keith,

    I love your "Reasons to be Cheerful." I actually was attempting to comment on "Part II" but can't seem to get to the comment space. If I click on the blog post title it redirects me on over to your friend's blog.

    Anyway, your musings on life and health and well being are very thought provoking. Supporting the people in our lives by listening, offering a hand or just taking an interest in what's happening for them can make all the difference.

    All the best!


  14. I love Fridays too, and I think posting reasons to be happy is a great idea. :) Have a great weekend!