On Wednesday of this week, the team I’m a part of had our monthly meeting. It’s the one chance we get to sit down all at the same time and look around the room at each other. In our case, we’ve got a Supervisor, Receptionist, Team Clerk, Mental Health Counsellor and 12 Employment Counsellors.
Our meetings are generally light on content, primarily because our Supervisor keeps us informed on a daily basis of changes and information that will impact on us. This saves us from having heavy content to digest at these meetings, and gives us whatever we need to know on an ongoing basis which I for one greatly appreciate. The meetings still hold a lot of value however, because there’s always updates from various committees and what’s going on in other offices that may impact on us.
Into this meeting I take you then, and toward the end of the meeting I had the floor and was finishing up with my item on the agenda when I decided all of a sudden to share some good news. 5 jobs offers have come about in the last couple of weeks to a group of 9 people I was working intensively with for a couple of weeks. And then I quickly told the story of one woman who didn’t get the job she was applying to, because she so impressed them with her interview skills and qualifications that she was given a much better job supervising an entire administrative team at a new office they were opening.
Now while I work with some pretty good people, it seemed to get a subdued reaction. I wasn’t looking for accolades myself, but sure thought the reaction would have been a little more enthusiastic for the woman’s success. And my immediate thought was, “Do they think I’m tooting my own horn?” So yesterday I was chatting off-hand with my Supervisor in passing and said that I think sharing a client success or an, “a-ha!” moment should be something we do regularly. Not with every staff person coming with a story, but opening up the floor to the opportunity. And she to her credit allowed that possibility to take seed.
You see my reasoning is this: We do such good jobs as Employment Counsellors and Social Workers advising all our clients to take pride in THEIR success and have pride in THEIR work, why don’t we do what we preach? When I shared that woman’s story, I did feel pretty good not only for her of course, but I also felt good in the telling, knowing that I’d had a part in coaching her and helping her realize her goals. And why therefore wouldn’t I want my co-workers to feel that same pride by celebrating and sharing their own successes?
Now you can’t mandate or make someone share their success. Some people are naturally more reserved, and some mistake sharing the pride in their accomplishments as self-promotion and boasting. Giving ourselves permission to relate our positive influence on others is not only a good idea I think, it’s downright healthy. Some will say, “I know I did a good job with so-and-so, and that’s all that’s important to me.” However when we don’t share that success with our team, I think we rob the collective group as a whole of the opportunity to celebrate that intervention and recognize our collective strength.
And think of the Clerk, the Receptionist, why even the Supervisor; they may be one step removed from the direct contact with the client in a workshop they may never hear about the individual stories of triumph and the part we played unless that’s shared with them. When successes are shared, they get robbed of the news, and we can all later say to our office mates later on, “That was a pretty cool story so-and-so shared eh?” and what’s wrong with that?
Celebrating our strengths and successes also has a ripple effect. In my job we all interact quite often with shared clientele. Someone in a workshop today will be in and out of the Resource Centre in which we work together, and imagine how nice it would be for a client struggling with self-esteem issues to have one of the staff see them, come on over and in passing say, “Hey congratulations are in order. Well done in landing that part-time job, or resolving that problem, etc.”
For the record, I’m not talking about sharing at a team meeting information that was relayed in trust and breaking confidentiality with a client and then telling a client about how it was shared publicly. But sharing some positive news that we’ve learned – even getting advanced permission if that makes it all transparent, still serves a useful process. I’m having an update meeting today with the woman among others that I spoke about in the team meeting, and I plan to tell her how I related her story in brief. I know she’ll be pleasantly impacted.
Celebrating success at work can crate a culture of building more successes. Take pride in what you do and share that joy in being responsible in part for the success of others. You’ll feel good not only about yourself, but about being part of a team that makes a difference.
Enjoy your Friday!