Every time I listen to Krista Tippet’s show On Being, either “live” on an NPR station, or by catching up through the podcasts, I come away feeling I have broadened my soul. Each week she interviews people on the journey towards a more enlightened understanding of our shared existence as the human race; the only “race” that actually exists genetically. Subjects generally enlighten and inform, and often revolve around a subjects related to the organizations “Civil Conversations project”. From this project I took the following three step method to being able to reach across Third Rail issues and have a conversation:
- Be polite. Just because you disagree with someone is no reason to belittle or insult them. Be nice.
- Embrace doubt. You may believe you know the right path and the only just path, but remember, the only problem with Fanaticism is an unshakable believe in The Answer. The problem in that “The Answer” is not “Answer”; it is “The”. There are rarely single correct solutions, life is more complex than single answers suggest or support. Believe you may not know everything (unless you’re already a Goddess or God, in which case why are you reading blogs?).
- See the argument from the point of view of the other party. What to they have to gain or lose in this argument? How does their world view function? Put yourself in their place, not as sympathy or empathy, but as close to seeing the world from their perspective as possible. Try to be as compassionate as possible.
Here is what their website says about the show:
On Being is a Peabody Award-winning public radio conversation and podcast, a Webby Award-winning website and online exploration, a publisher and public event convener. On Being opens up the animating questions at the center of human life: What does it mean to be human, and how do we want to live? We explore these questions in their richness and complexity in 21st-century lives and endeavors. We pursue wisdom and moral imagination as much as knowledge; we esteem nuance and poetry as much as fact.
On Being is the home of the Civil Conversations Project, an emergent approach to new conversation and relationship across the differences of our age. On Being’s listeners, readers, and online communities cross boundaries that separate them in the culture at large: generational, socioeconomic, political, religious. They report that On Being equips them to relate in fresh, new ways to different others, and emboldens them to engage in new kinds of service.
Imagine you are offered a one-hour meeting with one your personal Heroes. Would you show up in a stained shirt, torn trousers, and when they offer to shake your hand would you smack them in the face? Strangely that’s about the way most new federal employees are treated in their on boarding experience.
I hear stories in class repeatedly about employees showing up to new assignments in the federal government and their supervisor does not even know where they are going to sit. In the event that they actually have a cubicle assigned there’s often no computer and they haven’t been provided the simplest tools for job, such as a pad of paper and some pens. It’s a shabby display of the way to treat a new employee.
On boarding as a critical experience since it sets the tone for the entire next year of the employee’s relationship with the organization. It’s your chance to make the right first impression on how you treat people; but your actions will speak much louder than your words. It’s unacceptable to say that the “system” is responsible for the fact that an employee has no place to sit or the equipment that they will need to do their job. You would almost think that new employees sprung up over the night like mushrooms.
Here’s some things you can do to make on boarding a pleasant activity:
- Maintain a roster of open positions which fill actions of been requested on from HR. Ask for regular updates.
- Know the start date well in advance of each new employee
- Assign a sponsor to each new employee by name, and brief that sponsor on their role in introducing the employee to coworkers, touring the office, and answering questions about operations
- ensure workspace and the appropriate tools for their position are in place a week before the employee shows up
Taking these simple steps will give your new employee a sense of being valued, rather than ignored. Top it off with a welcoming function, or a small note on their desk, and you may actually get them excited to be there!
This blog was originally created in 2010, but was done in a manner that would not allow me to create automatic updates to the software. While a number of the previous posts were of interest, I’ve decided to relaunch the blog completely and have eliminated those previous entries.
In the coming days and months I will attempt to provide you interesting entries on what’s going on in the federal sector as relates to a number of important issues such as race relations, federal budgeting, and management oversight.