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If an Organization Could Teach its Employees Just One Thing…

January 28, 2011

It would be how to learn. In Peter Bregmanʼs article, The Best Way to Use the Last Five Minutes of Your Day, he explores the lack of personal reflection as a factor in conflict among teams, communication problems and many other workplace woes. Specifically, he highlights a hardworking, driven, passionate, overbearing and controlling head of a retail division named Julie*. From her teammates perspective, she was competitive and territorial. Moreover, she was a poor listener and overall, didnʼt make them feel valued. An over-performer, Julie was at risk of being fired for her failure to realize she had a problem in how she acted with others.

Though Julie is a fairly extreme, multi-flawed case, her story resonates because weʼre all guilty of not reflecting on our own behaviour. Itʼs because so many of us are ignorant to our own actions that we need to LEARN how to change those behaviours which are causing more harm in the workplace than good.

Now, if you think that organizing a mass thought and perception revolution is a too tall an order, individually there are things you can do. You can begin by devoting the last five minutes of you day by asking yourself three questions:

  • How did the day go? What success did I experience? What challenges did I endure?
  • What did I learn today? About myself? About others? What do I plan to do —differently or the same — tomorrow?
  • Who did I interact with? Anyone I need to update? Thank? Ask a question? Share feedback?

By setting aside time for personal reflection we can begin to take notice of the behaviours that have a negative influence on others and learn to modify and control such actions. Moreover, through personal reflection we will also become more aware of those behaviours that have a positive influence on others and choose to pursue those actions to create a positive, effective and productive work environment.

*Names and some details changed

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