Monday, April 16, 2012

People are People

One question that was asked to me during my job interview in 2006 was this one, “What if your manager asked you to make a report that requires you to get some data from a colleague. However that colleague refuses to provide the information. What will you do? I was mute for a couple of seconds. And I had to smile to show I’m still interested to answer the question. Sort of giving them a clue, “Wait, give me sometime to think.” And when it seeped into my consciousness that this was not just any ordinary conversation, I answered with a trace of formidability, “Sir, I will report that colleague to you!” And that answer made them mute for a couple of seconds too. On my bus ride going home, I was visually panning each question and answer in that interview and I was trying to rate myself. And then I thought again of the scenario when a colleague will refuse to cooperate. Could it really happen? Can he afford not to? With all these questions lurking all around my head, I became so tired that I dozed off immediately in that very common yellow bus we see everyday!

And now that 5 years and 11 months have passed I realize that interview questions are really tidbits of truth, half-truth, quarter-truth if there is such a word. I have condensed these so-called gathered truths into three equal weights.

Would you agree that, one which is the most difficult to do is the most rewarding? I can hear your yeses. Thank you for confirming. That will lead us to my truth number one: “Walk the talk”. Follow as I say; not as I do is the greatest irony ever created in the English Literature. Preachers are inside the church when they preach; not in the workplace. If you want to preach, please be holy first. If you cant be holy, then don’t preach. People in the workplace like myself, need models. There is much more to learn when we see the things we need to learn than just hearing it. As experts would put it, humans are naturally visual. The same applies in the workplace. We tend to do or follow what we see and observe with the people ahead of us. When the leader says, let’s all jump off from the 14th floor window, he must jump off first, and all the rest will follow.

My Truth number two is all about the Shared goal, Shared reward. We work to live and not live to work. Implication: Work should be something rewarding. “What will I get out of it? Para que? What for? What is in it for me? If people won’t see the benefit, it is very difficult to make them cooperate in the workplace. If kids are happy with lone candies after an accomplished errand, how much more with adults?

My Truth number three states that The workplace is an avenue to build relationships. Obviously we wanted to work with people whom we feel good about. Work is fun when we have good relationships with colleagues. In fact, the opposite of teamwork is bad relationship. And I remember this very striking quote I read sometime ago. “Don’t lighten up the room by leaving it”. I strongly believe that in the future, when we meet somewhere around the Philippines or around the world, we will not talk anymore about Raw Mats Delivery, MAA, CO2 Recovery, Water Treatment, and the like. What we will be talking about are the good relationships we have made while we are here in San Miguel.

How rewarding it is when people will follow you not because you told them to do so but because you have walked the talk, you have shared the reward, and you have built good relationships with them!

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