Hell is a village in Norway. Yes, it really is! This got Sue thinking about what she’d encounter if she went to visit her hell and how she could turn it into her heaven.
For me, it’s a double whammy. I have two hells. A personal one consisting of wasps, snakes and tarantulas, and my work hell. This work hell would feature people not communicating with each other, using knowledge as power to keep control and one-upmanship to curry favour with the boss. In other words: office politics!
This sounds like an extremely toxic work environment which surely no one would want to work in. However, if I’m totally honest, I have worked in places where I’ve seen these things happening… albeit for a short time and separately, not all at the same time. With hindsight, ignoring these issues and hoping they’ll resolve themselves is probably not the best solution!
Being slight older now (quite a bit actually!), I’d be quite confident in tackling these issues in a calm, assured and professional way. My experience has taught me that however awkward a situation, communication is key. I will always ask someone ‘Why?’ if I find out they’ve not been communicating on a specific topic. It’s great to chat (editor note… Sue really does love to chat!) and understand what the other person is thinking. It may be that they weren’t aware they needed to share the information, or they were concerned about the implications if they revealed what they knew. It’s very rare to find a work colleague who’s deliberately trying to sabotage work; it’s more that we don’t talk face to face, one-on-one, to find out their motivation and concerns and how we can work together to improve communication.
I’ve also learnt over the years that one-upmanship is usually because the individual is feeling insecure, undervalued or not appreciated. If everyone works together as one team, focused on a collective goal with no favouritism, then there is no need for a ‘dog eat dog’ culture and it’s unlikely to develop organically either.
I fundamentally believe that it’s not just down to leaders to foster this team mentality; each individual within the team can contribute and role-model the team behaviours we all want and need.
Back to hell, I may have been for a visit or two when I‘ve been touring the sites of communication mishaps and political intrigue. However, I know I can travel home to the Rambutan bunch and the world of teamwork and banter.
What’s your version of hell? How can you turn it around?