As the famous Canadian media theorist, Marshall McLuhan, suggests "the medium is the message". While we most often apply this quote to communications or technology, I like to think of its application to the design of everything from city streets to textiles. I often wonder about the assumptions buried within various systems we have designed to develop, educate, work and live.
It just requires commitment. To what? To the values I've been advocating all along: open-mindedness, skepticism and critical thinking. When so much is invested in robbing us of our ability or desire to do so, resolving to think critically is the most effective means of resistance there is. Hell, it's practically revolutionary.
Susan was a fellow office manager. She was given a budget to decorate for Christmas. As she transformed our offices with green and tinsel, she also loudly voiced what a waste of time and money it was. She even complained about the lunch-time Christmas party on Christmas Eve when we could leave early. Oh, for crying out loud!
Anger or anxiety disables our thinking brain. We need to re-calibrate what we are thinking in order to reclaim our emotional balance. That being said, when someone is putting pressure on us or elevating our blood pressure, stepping back and approaching things differently can help improve the outcome.
When we think of the best teams, many people aim for collaboration as the most desirable trait in the members and the leaders. While a collaborative approach targets the best win/win scenario that everyone can hope for, there are times where leaders need to step away and adopt a more directive stance.
Teens need to feel connected to their parents if they're going to open up to them, but it's harder these days for teens to connect. Social media makes it easier to be isolated and disconnected from parents and peers, as teens can opt to plug in to their technology and stay plugged in, rather than build real-life relationships.
For most employers, firing an employee is not as easy as calling him or her into your office and telling them "things just aren't working out," giving them two week's salary, and asking them to vacate the premises within one hour. No two employment situations that lead to dismissal are the same because there are usually extenuating circumstances that are anything but routine. It is up to the manager to decide on the best course of action in each situation, never losing sight of what is fair, legal, and most ethical.
You may be the one who is always making the new pot of coffee, unjamming the photocopier, replacing supplies, helping out in emergencies, always available (even when on vacation) and generally giving 100 per cent back to your organization and team. But there is always one princess who doesn't do any of that, doesn't feel even remotely guilty but seems to get the same rewards as you.