A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending my son’s school camp. I really enjoyed spending that time with my son and all his classmates and joining in with all the kid’s activities (the water slide was the most fun!).
When I returned from camp, I was telling another school mum how fascinating it was seeing all the interactions between the parents and children on camp and she commented that it was such a typical response to make from an HR person!
It got me thinking though; being on camp wasn’t dissimilar to many working situations. There was a wide mix of children and parents with different backgrounds, experiences and family situations all thrown together in different situations which for some of them were completely outside of their comfort zones.
A lot of these activities required the children to work well together as a team and it was great to see children push themselves and try new things they haven’t tried before. The smiles on their face showed the sense of accomplishment they felt when they did something new. A bit of encouragement by their classmates and parents was all that was required. Those smiles are so rewarding and can easily be enjoyed when at work by encouraging your colleagues and employees to push themselves and try something new. We didn’t encourage the children to do anything we weren’t prepared to do even if it meant getting very wet and cold. Maybe you won’t have to get wet and cold at work, but leading by example is a sign of a great leader.
Sadly at the same camp I also saw the impact that unsupportive parents had on some of these children. There were the parents who only looked after their children and didn’t help other children who were struggling. I had to step in when I saw a parent who completely embarrassed and made a small child cry (not their own) by refusing to help them and creating a scene in front of everyone. What a poor example these parents showed their own children when in comparison I certainly made a lasting and positive impression on my son and the child I helped. This situation reminded me that the way we support or not support (as in this situation) our colleagues and employees can have a lasting impact on their self-worth and confidence.
The next time you get the opportunity, encourage your colleagues and employees, those smiles are certainly worth it!