Applying Life Learnings into Work

Whilst attending a business lunch earlier in the year, I was chatting to a more ‘traditional’ leader
Knowing my line of work, he wanted to discuss something specific.

“What do you think of this ‘Bring your whole self to work’ nonsense?” he said with an open mind. Without pause for a response, he continued.

“What a load of tosh. We don’t go to work to offload our emotions onto colleagues. We’re there to work. I don’t want to hear what happened to your pet, your child or your neighbour. I want to see you work your arse off”.

I didn’t really get the chance to offer my view. He didn’t really want to hear it anyway. He just wanted me to know and understand his own.

I wonder if he downloads his views in work in the same way. Does he listen? Does he seek to understand?

If not, he’s massively limiting the performance and potential impact of his highly capable team.

NOT because I think we should use the workplace as a therapy convention. No, that’s not the point.

I’d go back a bit.

What do you mean by ‘bring your whole self to work’?

For me, that means things like….

  • I bring my learnings from my past career roles to my current role.
  • I see how I can apply my learnings as a parent into my life and work, and how I can share those learnings with others.
  • I bring my learnings from endurance events, and the training that goes into them, into my work.
  • When loved ones call out my bullsh!t and hypocrisy like only they can, I reflect on it and ask myself where else this can be applied elsewhere..

I had one glaring example recently.

I was delighted with the performance of the under-8 team I coach in rugby. A few weeks later, in a big fixture for the lads, they were a shadow of themselves. They didn’t just fall off tackles, they didn’t try to make them. I was gutted!!

They felt my disappointment the second time around, and that wasn’t fair. They’re young, missing tackles (or not trying to make them!) is part of their learning curve.

Who am I to shortcut their learning? I’ll bring that to my coaching sessions too.

What are you learning in life that is applicable to how you lead yourself and others?

Consider how you might weave them into real conversations in work. Not just conversations about a specific client, task or project. But more generally. The space between the professional dialogue is where we connect as people. That’s where relationships are developed and enhanced.

We’re exposed to new learning all the time, in all walks of life. That’s living. That’s leading.

Thriving organisations seem to be structured and led in a way that leverages these learnings collectively and indirectly. They’re connected themselves, because it is encouraged.

That’s why I felt it was time to explore and examine what thriving organisations are doing differently to those struggling ones.

  • How do they lead and empower their people?
  • What do they prioritise, and how?
  • How are they structured, what works well, and why?

I’ve focused on business, but I see parallels everywhere…

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I hope this paper helps you connect with yourself and others more effectively.