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Illustration by Kishore Das

Perspective

There is more to than just being professional
An organisation that drives professional compassion is more likely to succeed in the long run

Amisha Sethi

Once upon a time in absolute reality, there was this colleague of mine managing sales at senior level who used to give nightmares to his team with his behaviour (read way of talking) and emails. Every single email used to be well-crafted with ‘special effects’ to put some or the other person in the team down. I could never understand his psychology until I really went deep down gauging his personality and realised that he was amazingly insecure as a professional. This quite naturally transcended in his behaviour, emails and every little way of his engagements to survive his job. He hated almost everyone and everyone hated him even more. I met him over coffee once and tried convincing him to be polite to his team and he in as many words asked me to “take a walk”…. I have no clue about where is he and what he’s doing now, but whenever I meet his ex-team, every single person remembers him as a professional nightmare and no one would ever want to work with him again. I am sure he must be doing great for some company in terms of target achievements, but in true sense of his personal equity and peace, I have serious doubts!

There are just too many people out there, who spend more than half of their waking hours doing the work for which they feel no passion. There is a huge difference between working for the sheer joy of it and working for the sheer “money” out of it. Now imagine the same segment of people, who also don’t feel ‘nice’ towards their fellow colleagues work under one roof. You’re bound to have a sure-shot recipe for an ultimate disaster with profound implications not just on the company’s culture but also on the emotional well-being of the people working in that company.

What is work stress? The emotional trauma of facing a co-worker’s undesirable behaviour is one of the most common “stress”. And this stress is amazingly notorious, the moment you catch it, your neurotransmitters (read mind), starts sending you all the signals to either smoke, react, shutdown the laptop, or in the worst cases to just get the hell out of the place as soon as possible. Imagine how can creativity breed in this kind of a working scenario, may be money can but for how long and at what cost is the question.

In this rat race of achievement, are we not forgetting the basics of being a good professional, who exuberates compassion, motivates, influences positive attitude and empowers nature? Or in the midst of quarter over quarter profits and sales chase, have we conveniently forgotten the “kindness” and “passion” that resides deep within us and, hence, what comes out eventually most of the time is “robotic behaviour” in the name of “I am just doing my job”.

We, as professionals, are like threads of different colours woven together to create beautiful patterns. Imagine if each of these threads try to stand out by pushing the other down, how on earth a pattern will be created, forget about it being remotely beautiful. We have to be threads of a company aligned, supporting, empowering and teaming up to create ‘successful moments’ or rather read ‘positive experiences’ not just for yourself but for everyone else together. These patterns created by the threads are the products, profits, sales, customers, experiences and more.

I truly believe if you can’t “feel” for your fellow colleagues, you can genuinely not feel for your workplace. We are not machines after all and our colleagues are not just our ‘coffee break’ or let’s ‘take his case’ buddies — they are an integral part of our lives at least for some time. The impressions you give to them or the impressions they give to you as a “person” will always remain with you deep down. People in your team are not your slaves, although they report to you, but that is momentarily. Managers and teams will keep changing, but what would remain with them is your “true aura”, “your niceness” and honesty.

And this brings to the concept of driving professional compassion at your workplace. Each one of us working together are responsible to create a cohesive corporate world where we trust each other, like each other and work together just like a family. Professional compassion is about taking on another person not just as a machine but also as a human, working together and caring for each other. An organisation can have different kind of cultures, from compassion to innovation to fear and cut-throat competition. But for me, the worst culture is the culture of deceit, dishonesty and insecurity. You might succeed in the short-run, but can never succeed in the long run with this kind of a culture.

In this so-called corporate jungle, there have to be people planting seeds of trust, help, teamwork and above all, kindness. And that can only happen when you are not inhibited by mindless insecurities. Do remember, negativity breeds more negativity; if you sow the seeds of mistrust, rude behaviour and unkindness, you can never get peace in return. If you are kind to a person, then it is most likely that the person will reciprocate with the same quality. Kindness is like a good virus that is so beautifully infectious that it can pass its soothing effects from one person to millions in a flash. Being kind is the most important characteristic of a strong human being. A person can never be truly rich with just money, properties, designations and jewels; he will be truly rich if his heart is full of love and compassion. Hence, you are a human first and then a professional.

Being professionally compassionate doesn’t mean the work has to suffer, it means that no one has to suffer mentally and emotionally while you are at work. Trust me this designation, quarter target achievement, salary etc. are momentarily and superficial. What matters the most is beyond everything are you really enjoying what you are doing and letting people enjoy while you are enjoying?

I suggest you to take one day of your life when you make every effort to smile and genuinely extend your help to everyone possible at the workplace including your boss, your biggest competitor, your biggest ranting customer and your colleagues. You will reach an ‘aura’, which is so amazingly beautiful and fearless that you would never like to come out of it. Being a nice person won’t hurt you and, most importantly, won’t hurt anyone around you.

You will face politics, come across a few dishonest men or women, and crazy behaviours, but remember one thing — at the end of the day you’re simply not answerable to anyone, BUT YOURSELF — and if you are doing the right things, sooner or later, things will fall into place.  Don’t underestimate the power of your own “self” because if the self is nice, rest simply doesn’t matter.

— The writer is the author of the book It Doesn’t Hurt To Be Nice

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