The Work Situation

At school and university you probably experienced a situation where you had the right result, but got it the wrong way, or didn’t show your workings.

Results are important at work. But just as important is HOW you get those results.

Generally there are two sides to any task.

1. The result
2. How you get the result

Why is HOW you get the result as important as the result?

Think about this situation with the boss. He needs someone to run an errand to get a parcel. He needs it done urgently.

1. He can just order the receptionist to do it. “Forget what you are doing at present,” he says, “drop everything and hurry up about it.”

The receptionist runs the errand. But how do you think she feels about her work before and after this conversation with the boss?

2. Or he can have a chat with the receptionist, explaining what he needs done, and why it is important. The receptionist offers to drop everything and get onto it straightaway.

How do you think the receptionist feels about her boss and her work now?

The result is the same. The boss gets the parcel. But the outcomes are very different.

In the first situation, the boss has lost the respect of the receptionist, and will probably pay for this at some later situation. In the second situation, the receptionist feels the boss respects and listened to her. She gives some loyalty to the boss in exchange for this consideration. The boss will get the benefit of this later.

At work you will almost certainly be working with bosses and co-workers. You’ll be part of many teams, some small as two, some much larger, whether it’s called a team or not.

If you are the big boss, and you don’t care about relationships, then it’s OK if getting results is the most important thing for you.

Having no personal relationship may not be an issue if you are the boss, and you expect people will always do what you tell them.

If you ignore the value of relationships, it’s not without issues though, and it’s not unheard of for employees to follow the unfeeling boss’s instructions blindly, even when they know it will lead to disaster!

But for the rest of us mere mortals, the way we get things done can be just as important as getting results. This is crucially different from the school achievement process where you achieve much on your own, or in an artificial team environment.

As a student you have probably collaborated as a team or with co-workers on school projects and the like. This has given you some experience of working with people to achieve outcomes. Did you realise when you were doing these team exercises that the result was important, but that the way you got the result even more important?

Because relationships with co-workers matter.

Next we'll meet the characters at work.