Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Mixing Business with Pleasure: The Power of Moderation

{It’s better to bring some of your personal life into work so people know what’s going on... When done properly it balances the whole rather than depletes it.}

Team Work. We all know it’s important – being team players, complementing each other’s skill sets, the whole being greater than the sum of its parts… But there’s more to team work than just working well together professionally. It’s not just the vision/mission we create, hone and implement together, not just the professional practices we each bring to the group. There’s always another dynamic to any team – one that’s hardly ever fully acknowledged.

It’s the personal side of the professional world, the personal aspect of the team member.

Within each of us are two things going much of the time. One is our own dream world where we have utopian images of what we’re doing in our careers. Sometimes we are able to communicate this to the rest of the team; Other times it might not translate accurately or may remain locked within us.

The second thing perpetually going on within each of us – what we bring to the table each day whether we realize it or not – is our outside relationships. They affect us, which in turn affects our relationship to our job and teammates. And conversely, our relationships are affected by our jobs. The people close to us can at times be so affected by our work life that we can’t say they’re not part of the group as well.

Recognizing this as a natural part of life (work and personal time co-mingling) is what we call work-life balance. “It’s better to bring some of your personal life into work so people know what’s going on,” Stephen says. “When done properly it balances the whole rather than depletes it.”

Of course, this requires a willingness to show our vulnerability at times, to be honest and share a bit of our personal lives. Giving those we work with a glimpse into the other aspects of our life is actually a gift we bequeath to the team. Trust and understanding are strengthened in this way, helping us all learn how to be real in a reasonable way.

But what if not all team members are open to this work-life balance? It’s a good thing to have in mind before building or reinforcing any team: Be honest about what you ideally want in a team and communicate that openly to potential or existing members. At Middle Way Health Stephen likes to say, “We wouldn’t want anyone in the group that we wouldn’t want to hang out with socially.” Because we need a certain comfort level in order to not only put our best foot forward, but occasionally explain why that foot may be stuck in the mud behind us).

It seems rather old school – or perhaps just too conservative – to expect that our professional selves have nothing to do with our personal selves. They are not totally separate. In fact, the more we can base our professional persona on our personal values and desires, the better. It ends up creating a more authentic experience for all.

At Middle Way Health we are involved with the community and with each other - not just our work – because we believe this is a healthier, more highly functioning way to balance the whole of our lives. We thrive from honest, positive feedback from others, and this give-and-take loop supports us all in turn.