I sent an email to a group of people inviting them to attend a workshop. I was so focused on the content of the email that I did not pay enough attention to the distribution list. To my good luck an observant colleague noticed that I had missed including a couple of folks and sent me a message saying “Hey Nikhil, I think you forgot to include….”
An Oops moment. The essence of good communication is about how the message is received, and I am reminded that a simple email can trip me up if I do not pay attention. “That is not cool,” I said to myself. Resending to all (with the missed out folks added) and an apology for missing them, took just a few minutes.
Seek to understand and I will be understood. But over a week later this incident still plays on my mind. What if those people felt hurt in some way because I missed adding their names the first time around? What if they felt that I did not give them due importance? The list of “what ifs” Is endless. Note to self. I must ask them how my mistake impacted them (or not) instead of making all this up in my head. And if need be, find a way to make it up to them.
I am underlining once again to myself the importance of paying attention to detail. The little things are always the big things. My lack of attention to the tiny details could easily be misunderstood as my lack of attention to each member of my team.
What I loved most about the run-up to this event was when one particular colleague called me up and said “I heard you are planning this workshop and I want to be a part of it. Can I attend?” This is a perfect example of what it takes to be seen and heard. Another person could not attend the full day but made the effort to come to the venue and meet everyone before the session began. A simple but effective way is to signal that someone or something is important to you.
At the workshop I was reminded of another important lesson – context is as important as the content. Sitting in a circle changes the energy of a group. There is no hierarchy. Everyone is equal and everybody has a voice. I matter. My voice matters. What I have to say matters. I am important. What I have to share has importance. As people opened up and shared their individual experiences, hopes, aspirations, challenges, and personal stories their appreciation of and understanding of each other grew. I now had more context about a person because of the sharing and that helped me see them in a new light.
Creating a workspace that is designed to enable every person to express themselves and build a sense of purpose and belonging is central to employee wellbeing. An environment of “I see you and I hear you” is what every team member deserves. So, the answer is yes – you are included. And yes, you are important.
Interestingly this is as much about me as it is about everyone else. It all starts with me. I must believe this of myself. An abundance mindset that is curious and open is a prerequisite to opening up space for others. When I believe that I am included and that what I have to offer is important, only then can I create a space for others that allows this energy to flourish. It begins with me and grows into we. My mindset sets the stage for my team.
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