In Your Workplace – Be a Hummingbird

Imagine a workplace where everyone smiles at you and greets you with a friendly “good morning” when you arrive at work and then they immediately follow this up with a genuine “How are you today?”

Imagine a workplace where people hold doors open for you, where they ask about ‘you’ as a person and are genuinely interested in what you did on the weekend or where you’re going on your next vacation.

Imagine a workplace where colleagues offer assistance to ease your workload when you look overwhelmed. Or perhaps imagine a supervisor who supports you with positive suggestions and acts as a coach and mentor rather than the taskmaster and ‘the one who must be obeyed.’

Imagine a workplace where supervisors and managers role model appropriate courteous and behaviour and language and who always seem to have thoughtfully considered the tone of their emails they send to you before hitting the ‘send’ button.

Imagine a workplace where supervisors and managers set the standard and inspire you to follow them.

Is This Workplace for Real?

‘Where is this place,’ I hear you asking yourself? This place where the only joking around is packed with self-effacing humour, rather than employees who feel that it is somehow their right to target others with their own personal commentaries filled with gossip, misinformation and hurtful dialogue?

Well, this place could be where you work right now!

If it is, you are indeed fortunate – since I have described a most respectful workplace.

But if it isn’t, then you can help those around you by being that change you want to see.

What Do You Do?

In all of our training workshops which revolve around respectful conduct, we always stress the fact that the ONLY person whom you have 100 percent control over, is yourself.

You can’t make anyone do anything – but by being that person who is polite, who is courteous, who is genuinely interested in others around you, you will begin to have an impact – little by little – one person at a time.

You’ll notice that people will start to recognize in themselves when they are getting close to that line in the world of appropriate behaviour – and begin to at least ‘try’ to catch themselves. Before, they wouldn’t have even thought that there was a line.

You won’t be able to do this on your own – you’ll need help – hopefully from your supervisors, managers and leaders – all of whom should hold that desire that same culture of genuine respect and appreciation that I began this blog with.

I heard a beautiful analogy recently which summed all of this up perfectly – told to me by a person named Rebecca. The analogy referred to a forest fire – seemingly out of control and consuming everything in its path.

All of the forest animals were racing for their lives – running through the undergrowth until they emerged from the cover of the trees into the safety of the meadow.

There they saw a hummingbird hovering at the edge of the forest, squirting tiny amounts of water from its beak into the raging flames.

“What are you doing?” the animals asked the hummingbird.

“I’m trying to put the fire out” the hummingbird replied, as it flew back to refill its beak from a nearby stream.

“You’ll never make it!” the forest animals said in chorus.

“I have to try,” the hummingbird insisted, “but it sure would easier if I had help.”

The forest animals thought for a while.

Then they looked at each other as they realized that the hummingbird was right. Their home was under threat, and walking away was not the answer.

One by one, they started making their way to the stream to fill their mouths with water.

In your workplace ….be that hummingbird.