Working Stiff

I am not a business expert. I do not have an MBA. I’ve read a handful of business books and took a business class about five years ago, but I have worked at five different organizations in the past decade.

I’ve seen a lot of interesting work situations unfold in my own career. If I may, I’d like to share three ideas that I think make for a happy worker and workplace:

1. It’s OK to make mistakes
If a work environment and a supervisor make it OK to make mistakes – unintentional, of course – I promise that bold, creative ideas will come forth. If not, a culture of CYA (cover your ass) exists, where everyone lives in a state of heightened fear for their position or the favor of his or her supervisor. What can be learned from mistakes? How can people move on? Make it OK. And truly move on. I understand that this speaks to only certain workers – physicians and engineers don’t quite get a pass, but maybe they can think of how they would build a building or cure a person if they had any tools possible at their fingertips.

2. Provide clear, meaningful work, roles and responsibilities
No one wants to sit in an office clock watching. We are human, put on this earth to create. Give people assignments that are clear and have a level of responsibility in line with their position. While we’re not all creating art, figure out how can work at all levels be made meaningful, and you’ve got a happy worker.

3. Provide advancement and training
Most workers want to advance in *something.* Maybe it’s not Excel or graphic design, but maybe it’s learning how to deal with conflict or time management. Get at the root of how you can help the individual, and the worker will be helped.

I wrote these ideas on a napkin and finally put them to digital paper. What are your ideas?

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