Dancing Your Own Dance

February 24, 2016 ·

In End the Struggle and Dance with Life, Susan Jeffers makes a strong point for being true to yourself. So much of what makes life difficult is when we try to be a person we are not. This is especially true of a working environment where individual identity is suppressed for the betterment of the company.

“Everyone has his or her own dance to dance...literally and figuratively.  Some of us want to spread our arms wide to new adventures.  Some of us want to open the curtain just a little bit for the time being.  Some of us want to light a huge bonfire.  Some of us want just a little flame to radiate our own special light into the world.  Never worry if you are doing it wrong.  There is no wrong. It's your dance.  And every day it's a new dance for all of us.  It is important to trust your own rhythm, your own movement.” 

Susan wrote this about everyday life, but when it applies to the workplace it becomes a powerful reminder that everyone is different and will approach work in a different capacity. Requiring everyone to do the same work in the same way is a good way to kill morale in a workplace. Companies need to recognize their employees as individuals with unique talents and strengths. But as employees, we also need to recognize that in our supervisors, our colleagues, and in ourselves.

Here are some examples exploring how recognizing individuals can make a work environment more productive and more welcoming.

Jim was habitually late to work in the morning. He’d drag himself in late, bleary-eyed. His supervisors spoke to him about it, but to no avail. Jim’s excuse was that he wasn’t a morning person. Jim was well on his way to unemployment until the department manager suggested that instead of working an 8 to 5 shift, Jim worked 9 to 6. The change was miraculous. Not only was Jim able to make it to work on time, his productivity soared. This led the company to offer more flexible hours to all their employees allowing them to choose the time they came in, between 7 and 10.

Carol and Sarah were assigned to work on a project together with a few other coworkers. The project was going nowhere as the two women were at loggerheads. The reason behind the holdup is that both women, dedicated to their work, had vastly different ideas on how to make the project succeed. It wasn’t until another person in their working group suggested divvying the responsibilities that things started to move forward. Carol, who is deadline oriented and who likes agendas and timelines, took on the parts of the project that were more straightforward. Sarah, who approaches her work in a less structured, more dynamic way, took on the aspects of the project that required more creativity. By coming to terms with the fact that they worked in different ways, they were then able to “dance their own dance” in a way that made the project’s outcome a success.

Tags: Confidence · Feel the Fear...and Do It Anyway · Personal Development · Susan Jeffers

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