What I’m Listening to: French artist ‘Folamour’ is reminding me that disco never died.
What I’m Reading: “Decisive” by Chip Heath & Dan Heath
Cyber Monday. From one perspective today is merely a celebration of consumerist woes in modern society. From the more positive perspective of a public servant, however, today is an opportunity to maximize your limited resources to get the best gifts possible for the people in your life. The problem? Pouring all of our efforts into material gifts is not going to make anybody happy or change any lives, it only creates stress for the sake of temporary joy.
As we roll into the holiday season consider this: the greatest gifts you will give over the next several weeks are likely to be completely immaterial and will come with no price tag. Instead of stressing over money, cards, and giftwrapping, approach the next several weeks with an intention to give others something of immeasurable value, your support. To help in this approach to the holidays I have created a “shopping list” of the gifts that will leave everybody in your life wondering how you knew exactly what they wanted.
This list is meant to inspire, but if you are reading ELGL Morning Buzz posts please know that you already are giving gifts of support to so many. In local government we give by connecting residents to services, helping coworkers, building professional networks for others, and by lending an empathetic ear. Keep doing exactly what it is that you do and you will undoubtedly deliver some holiday cheer this year!
For your coworker: The ability to read your mind
Okay, maybe your coworker will not actually be able to read your mind, but you can get all of the benefits of telepathic conversation through clear communication! Being on the same page when working together is always important, but it can be more difficult during the holiday season. You and your coworker are more likely to have days out of the office in the next month, and the overall pace of work tends to change this time of year.
Keep teammates in the loop by updating shared calendars regularly. Communicating your time boundaries clearly will keep workflows in rhythm through disruptions. Share your perspective, especially on priorities and expectations. Your values may not always align perfectly with those you are working with, but when your coworkers see your perspective on display, they will better understand how you are making decisions.
If you want to pair this gift with a stocking stuffer, it goes well with being a good listener. A working relationship, and the work that is created in that relationship, will see as much benefit from you being a listener as it will from you sharing your ideas clearly. The better we understand one another the better we can anticipate each other’s needs and the easier it is to communicate effectively. Invest in the working relationships most important to your work and your organization.
For yourself: The benefit of the doubt
With all that you are gifting to the world there is no shame in getting yourself a little something this year. I recommend that you give yourself the benefit of the doubt.
Stability has been no staple of the last 20+ months, many of us have experienced personal stresses, increased workloads, and new ways of conducting business. Through a pandemic you have maintained your commitment to serving the public interest. You deserve a bit of a break, and the reduced pressure will make you feel better while also improving your productivity.
If you really want to be indulgent, give others the benefit of the doubt as well. Giving yourself the benefit of the doubt will certainly be freeing, but extending it those you know will improve the overall attitude in your work and social circles. If you can extend the benefit of the doubt to those that you do not even know, your entire community will reap the benefits. People having the room to be themselves and share their perspectives in open and honest conversation will make the world a brighter place.
For the rock stars in your life: Recognition
Recognition seems to be a theme during the holiday season. Scottsdale will be recognizing great feats of city employees in our annual employee awards later this week, and it was not too long ago that we all wrapped up nominations for the ELGL Top 100 Local Government Influencers. Being recognized for your work validates your efforts and encourages you to keep moving forward. If your work is a passion of yours, as it is for so many ELGL members, the value of being recognized increases even further.
Notwithstanding the cost of trophies or ceremonial events, recognition is free to give. It is important though to make sure that the recognition does not come across as cheap. Giving recognition when it is earned and doing so with sincerity will excite and encourage the rock stars (like Mouse Rat) around you!
To take this gift to the next level, recognize teams and organizations too! Some of the most impressive accomplishments are the result of teamwork and highlighting the good work of a team can help draw in additional talent. Consciously or otherwise, we notice when organizations or groups are regularly recognized with impressive awards and we strive to be a part of those groups. Help find recognition for your organization and escalate the profile of your entire team.
For literally everyone: Respect
Empathy has been a constant theme in this Morning Buzz, and the inclusion of respect for everyone is only meant to emphasize that. It doesn’t take an internet rabbit hole of unruly airline passenger videos to know that the world could always use more mutual respect. Odds are, this season somebody will share a goofy idea with you, and somebody will be vulnerable with you in sharing their personal experiences. Respect them and continue to respect them.
Respect is about listening and considering others’ circumstances, not about fixing their problems for them.
During the holiday season some people will be looking to take stock and recover while others may look to find a bit of extra family time. Respect the boundaries that those around you set.
Agreement is not a prerequisite for respect, but acceptance is. Understand that those that are making organizational decisions have much to consider. Once decisions are made, work to accept, and support those decisions.
Giving these gifts will do more for the recipient and yourself than anything you would purchase this Cyber Monday. The holidays are a magical time but can also be hectic as we attempt to balance time between family, life, and work. Communicate clearly with others, give the benefit of the doubt, recognize hard work, and most of all respect one another.
P.S. If you really do need to buy something today, I would suggest checking out the ELGL Swag Store.