Cherish the nourishing work group
Several weeks ago I had lunch with three former coworkers. I walked out of the restaurant in a good mood. I began thinking about what made this group so good. They are nourishing people. No egos but quiet humility. No one monopolized the conversation. There were good opening questions with responses around the table. Everyone was truly interested in one another’s job, updates on families and other coworkers, where people had traveled recently.
These are people who are comfortable with themselves
They relish open communication. They respect one another and each one’s expertise. Each person is confident and apparently saw no need to impress any one else.
Many good staff people came and went in the Life in Iowa program. We each had a defined role and knew our responsibilities. We had various leaders who set clear goals. Several glimpses into that past will explain the work relationships:
• We had regular staff meetings. Tom always presented his notes from the latest administrative meetings. There was no mystery about what went on because we knew unless it was something confidential.
• When there was a search for the position Tom eventually held, we all were invited to the candidate presentations and asked to comment. We felt we had a voice in the decision.
• Hina shared many course documents and evaluations when I wanted to better understand the program to write about it. Trisha shared company names and information. No hoarding, no questions, just immediate compliance because it would help the program. There was an understanding and trust that the information was proprietary.
Life in Iowa was a service-learning project to place Iowa State students in Iowa internships in an effort to retain college educated people here. The idea was born in the Kellogg Commission on the Future of State and Land-Grant Universities. I think the concept was ahead of its time in Iowa or needed a more inclusive base. It was a challenge. It was constant change looking for a way to make the program self-supporting quickly. It was a great work experience. We all wish the program had survived its infancy.
Work group repertoire comes down to civility
Put the pieces together: nourishing people who respect one another, who employ inclusion and acceptance, who practice superb communication. We had clear goals, roles and responsibilities. That created trust. And that’s how a workplace culture worth cherishing was born.--- That’s what made this group special. I often read about maintaining networks and relationships. It’s especially good to stay in touch with such nourishing people.