The important question to ask is whether or not you're happy. If you don't know if you're happy, ask someone. Do you dare ask your spouse, close friend, son, daughter or co-worker if they think you're happy? If you have the guts to ask, don't be surprised by what they may say.
I've learned two valuable lessons. First, things don't always go the way we want. Second, co-workers have the same hopes and dreams as everyone else.
THE FRONT LINEYou may remember that at the beginning of the Gulf War, the American ground forces were speeding towards Baghdad and they were traveling so fast the supply line was having trouble keeping up. Fuel, ammunition, food, medical facilities and other support items were lagging somewhat, as reported by the media. It boggles my mind to think of how complicated and vitally important it is to keep the front line troops supplied. What if our troops didn't get the water they needed?
How important are the troops you have on the job to you? Do you keep them supplied with everything they need? Are you a drain or a resource? Keep in mind that a war could be lost if the supply line to the troops is stopped or if the right stuff isn't sent.
If being happy is simply getting what we want, why do so many people drive to work with scowls on their faces? Why do co-workers have trouble working together and why do leaders sometimes send the wrong message?
CONTAGIOUS DISEASEI keep hearing about the Bird Flu and the fact that it's coming. We have all heard about Mad Cow and the possibility of the disease getting into our food supply. The Bird Flu has been compared to other viruses that have killed or sickened millions of people in the past. I recently heard that our government has given a billion dollars to the drug companies to find a way to make Bird Flu vaccine faster. I'm glad the government and the drug companies are staying on top of the much-publicized Bird Flu pandemic but I wonder if the drug companies could spend a little time creating another vaccine for another seemingly contagious disease?
I think this disease has been one of our nations biggest people killers because of its affect on attitudes. I don't think it has made the jump from people to wild animals but it has jumped from people to domestic animals. We come in contact with this disease everyday and we have to be aware that it exists in ourselves and others as we do business. Selfishness is the dreaded disease I'm talking about and it applies to subcontractors.
Our trade's people on the front line can spot a selfish leader in the time it takes to say "Bird Flu." The immediate response from our field staff will be attitude, with a capitol "A."
I wonder if the drug companies can come up with a cure for selfishness. We've got drugs for depression, anxiety and other mental disorders but nothing for selfishness. If you want to know if you have the selfishness disease, ask yourself this simple question: Am I more important than my co-workers?
If you work with a selfish employer or co-worker you will most likely become selfish because selfishness is a learned behavior and possibly a brain chemical deficiency.
GENERALS AND TROOPSIn construction, our front line troops are the people working for us in the field. If office people don't keep our troops supplied with everything they need, our companies will fail. Yes, the field needs tools, material and equipment to succeed in getting the job done but there are two other things they need that leaders don't often supply.
Leaders don't often instill value in employees. Most employees don't really know where they stand in their bosses' eyes. Some companies have layers of management that don't always pass along the value their superiors want instilled in the work force. Smaller companies, where the owner is actively involved with the field staff, are sometimes afraid to let an employee know how valuable he or she is for various reasons.
The truth is that everyone wants to be valued. Being valued is a key ingredient to being happy and happiness is what everyone is working toward. I've never met a person who has made it his life-long goal to be worthless and unhappy, however there are many people who feel worthless and therefore are unhappy.
Keeping an employee in the dark as to his performance or value to the company is next to depriving someone of food. I sometimes forget how important it is to talk to people about these things only to find out that because I've not talked to them they conclude that I'm not valuing them or the company doesn't value them. That's really bad on my part and it makes me appear selfish and may be a good indicator that I am. We cannot forget or get too busy to talk to people, to affirm them or help them.
If you as a leader devalue your co-workers openly or leave them in the dark as to their value, you are guaranteed that you will pay the price for it. A successful four-star general wants the very best for his troops at all times and wants them to succeed.
To be an unselfish leader is to be generous, kind, thoughtful and considerate. To be unselfish is to show your front line troops and co-workers on a daily basis how much you sincerely value them even to the point of sacrifice.
Remember: Teamwork begins with a fair contract.
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