It’s actually very simple

September 22, 2007

I have been involved in a number of discussions lately centering around morale, personal interaction and perception of staff. These conversations have been at best enlightening and at worst somewhat disheartening. I’ve been known as Miss Polly Positive for some time which I’m guessing has a lot to do with my attitude and outlook and also my unwavering desire to believe the best in everyone. Well, I think that desire is starting to waver slightly.

Really, I am more disappointed than anything else and this is not such a let down that the fundamental core of my being is altered in any significant way, if anything it has made me more aware and sensitive of my actions- in a good way and I am looking at it as a not-so-gentle reminder of the way the world is. See, that is me being Miss Polly Positive (she ain’t going anywhere).

Foolishly, I really believed that the way I treat people is pretty much the way everyone else does. You can all stop snorting now.

Okay, so it isn’t. I had some very candid discussions with my staff and learned a lot of valuable insights into their daily work lives. I took a lot of mental notes, and then went back to my office and did a brain dump. While there is/was a lot going on in these discussions, I am going to share what seems to be the simplest and most important issue.

People like to be acknowledged. I don’t mean acknowledged in terms of accomplishments. I am talking about acknowledged as another human being on this Earth, standing 3 feet away from you, who you see on a daily basis. The bottom line: smile or say hello. It goes a tremendous distance in making another person feel like they exist. And it is actually quite difficult to feel like you matter when you are repeatedly treated like you are invisible.

There are people who work in my library whose names I still don’t know because I don’t work closely with them. However, I know they work in the library because I see them on an almost daily basis and when I do I smile or say, “hi, how are you?” I didn’t realize doing that was a big deal until more than one person told me it was.

My recommendation for Step One in creating a change in climate, morale and staff perception: say hello to your fellow coworkers. Smile, nod, wave.

It makes a huge difference and makes people feel happy.  And happy people will communicate, share, be open to change and discussion, and ultimately be more productive.

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4 Responses to “It’s actually very simple”

  1. Angela said

    Yes! This is something so simple, and yet it really does matter so much. Eye contact, and smile and a greeting, that’s all you really need, and it makes everyone feel better, giver included.

  2. Rachel said

    Hey, paisan!

    People fail to realize it is all the little things that contribute to a toxic work environment. It is amazing what can be accomplished when a comfortable and welcoming environment.

  3. Liz said

    Hello. This comment is off-topic for the post. Are you the one who offered to give some advice/guidance on setting up a wiki? If so, how shall I contact you? Or, you can contact me at lizbrarian (at) gmail (dot) com.

    Thanks!

  4. Your simple formula is GREAT — smile, nod, wave! In my experience, initiating this small bit of energy is successful in generating an equal and delightful reaction back in the direction of the initator. Try it — see for yourself what happens!

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