My husband is fond of saying "Age brings wisdom whether we want it or not!" How true! How many of us in our elder years wish we had known then what we know now? Here is a case in point.
Recently we were reminiscing on the good years we had experienced in our respective careers. In each case we acknowledged that there had been both good years and bad years. In almost every instance the good years outnumbered the bad years. During the good years, we had supervisors who respected our expertise and supported our efforts. They shared a positive vision for the future. They created strong teams who worked together for the greater good. They cared about the people under their leadership. We felt good about the work we did and the people we worked with.We looked forward to going to work each day.
The bad years were often due to personnel conflicts either with subordinates or supervisors. We struggled with situations, often beyond our control, that caused us to reflect on our integrity and moral conscious. The choice was difficult: face the conflict head on and the consequences that went along with it, or acquiesce knowing that we had surrendered a part of us we could never get back. The situation created stress that we carried over into the workplace and into our homelife. Trust was eroded and collegial friendships suffered. The game became one of survival and "empire building". The spirit of teamwork and collaboration was lost. Workers began to insulate themselves against territory encroachment in an effort to protect themselves. Only the "toadies" thrived in this environment.
So what is the lesson learned from this? We are not only stronger together, we are happier together. No one builds support through division and isolation. No one grows taller by tearing down someone else. No one leaves a legacy of positive memories by creating more stress.
I urge anyone in a leadership position to take this advice to heart. Take stock of the atmosphere you are creating in the workplace. Long after you are gone, you will be remembered not for the accomplishments you can list on your resume, but for the people and lives you touched along the way.