I’m currently participating in a six week series on Metta, or loving-kindness meditation. Lately we’ve been focusing on self-love and last week we reviewed the very important concept of forgiving yourself.
This is such an important thing to remember in the workplace too. As Millennials in the nonprofit sector, we have a trend to be too hard on ourselves. We know the good we want to do in the world and the potential our energy, skills, and insight brings to the table. We want to change the world and we know we can.
So when we slip up, we get very frustrated and mad at ourselves. We worry about how it looks to our colleagues – looking like we don’t know what we’re doing might be the worst thing we can imagine. Our professional reputation is extremely important to us. We feel it dictates our entire future. It defines us.
The truth is, everyone makes mistakes. Mistakes are what make us human and teach us how to deal with issues as they come up. Getting through a slip up can cause you to learn so much and be a better person. It can teach you resilience and professionalism. It can teach you how to be a better employee and a better manager.
So, this is a call that we must forgive ourselves. Forgive ourselves for any mistakes we have made at work. Ten years from now, none of this will matter. Will it matter ten months from now? Ten days from now? Likely not. Forgive yourself and let go of the past. It will liberate you to move forward with your work in a brand new way. Don’t worry: you’re still changing the world.
USA Today did a great piece on the types of people skills leaders need in order to be successful (read the piece here). The article has some good, easy to implement tips on some small improvements to make on your people skills. The tips include making the employee feel more at ease, devoting all attention to them, and being empathetic. Yes, yes, and yes – couldn’t agree more.
All the tips listed are things that should be done with millennials. But the difference is that there is an additional goal. Millennials need to feel empowered to take what you’re teaching them and run. They need to feel like their voice is heard and you respect their perspective. Once you’ve demonstrated this, you’re golden, and a millennial will follow you anywhere you want to go.
Of all the tips, be fully present was probably my personal favorite. When I’m having a conversation with someone, I turn to them, look them in the eye, and show through my body language that I’m paying attention. I don’t understand people who can have conversations through cubicles without looking at each other! Even if I’m right next to someone, I always need eye contact.
The article specifically calls out young people as being underdeveloped in their face-to-face communications. Unfortunately, with the prevalence of texting and online communication, we’re pushing ourselves to always be multi-tasking. I think our generation needs a hybrid approach to communications, but one that is founded on eye contact. That’s the best way to instill confidence and demonstrate respect, and that’s the way we’ll really take direction and run.