Our collaborator Kristina shares here thoughts on why levity is better for business (originally published on LinkedIn).
We heard a lot about fixed versus growth mindset. We want to have a growth mindset at a workplace so we can scale and work better, more efficient and be creative. What we do not realise is that a growth mindset is not a separate trait. Having a growth mindset means that we believe that we can learn anything to thrive. Growth mindset comes from observation of the world around us and our curiosity to discover solutions through different approaches. To have a growth mindset organisation, we need to allow for curiosity and create opportunities to learn and experiment. According to Brené Brown, “curiosity is recognising a gap in our knowledge about something that interests us, and becoming emotionally and cognitively invested in closing that gap through exploration and learning.” After reading this, don’t we want ourselves and everyone at our work to become a bit more curious?
I grew up imagining work as this very serious place where people never smile, are always in a hurry and carry a leather brief bag around with lots of papers. When watching movies where I see workplaces, it almost always involves lots of stress, shouting and tears, very angry or mean boss… And after a painful process, success arrives. The narrative that we are sold from a young age about work and how we are supposed to feel and act while working, does not involve anything related to how we would like to feel and what we would like to experience while creating value.
So later on when we start our careers and we want to become more professional, productive, reliable to our employers and successful, we decide that humour or being curious does not belong in our workplace. We leave it for the evenings and weekends to decompress from the serious business. Levity and curiosity are seen as “childish” in most of the corporates, even though they make us more human, authentic and connected to our colleagues or clients.
It is found by a research by Wayne Decker that leaders who have a sense of humour are perceived 23% more respected and 25% more pleasant to work with. Also, Francesca Gino discovered that “only 24% of employees reported feeling curious in their jobs on a regular basis, and 70% face barriers in asking more questions at work”. This data shows there is a big need for a change at a workplace to encourage trust, connection and wellbeing of the employees to achieve a space where growth and profitability thrive.
Just think about your last client meeting. What went wrong? And what did go right? It is usually the small details that make the meeting successful — a smile on the clients face during the chit chat at the end, a relaxed expression when presenting the results, attentive questions when solving a big problem. All these small encounters are what makes us connected to others and come from being curious about the subject, person or situation. And also what makes us feel that we nailed that meeting…
So how can we achieve that? I truly believe that creating a space where people feel more human through levity and encouraged curiosity will create magic. Here are three tips what you can implement right away for bringing curiosity at your work:
Learn how to listen and respond. Imagine this scenario: You finally find a courage to give an opinion about something and then you barely get a reply from the group, except — thanks! How would that make you feel? One thing is to ask right questions, other is to acknowledge someone sharing their view. “I see what you mean. Why would you do xyz? Would you like to explain more in depth this part?” Sometimes, all is needed is to be heard and seen.
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