PEOPLE AT WORK COLUMN: Seven Deadly Sins

REPENTANCE is something we should do at work, if Bob Rosner, Allan Halcrow and John Lavin, authors of “Gray Matters: Use Ours, Use Yours” (John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2003), had their way. They have identified “seven deadly workplace sins” –if workers commit them, the organization (and consequently our jobs) may become extinct.

What are these sins and are we guilty of committing them?

Sin 1: Exhaustion

Your first reaction would probably be, “Aren’t we supposed to be awarded a huge medal of loyalty for working ourselves to death?” But getting exhausted could lead to serious consequences at work and burnout. Ironically, working too much lessens productivity rather than increases it. Penance: say “No” one thousand times to tasks that don’t help your objectives add—simply stop doing them.

Sin 2: Anger

Rosner et al writes, “Anger is an acid that corrodes the foundations of any workplace.” When you are exhausted, your anger is easily triggered. Penance: count from one to ten—especially when you feel anger mounting—before reacting to a situation.

Sin 3: Surrender

There are days when all odds seem to be against us. But, if you surrender, you will certainly be defeated. There are circumstances we cannot control. The trick is, say the authors, how do we “leverage our influences and make a difference?” Penance: write one thousand times on paper towels, “Never give up!”

Sin 4: Obsolescence

The book adds, “Our future is at risk unless we invest in our skills.” These words are so relevant in these times when no one can be assured of security of employment. The authors advise us to keep our skills current and hone up on skills needed by the times. Penance: sharpen one “saw” or skill a month for continuous improvement.

Sin 5: Incompetence

Rosner et al advise, “Your career depends on you being competent in the right context.” So, keeping your skills current means acquiring the skills you need for your career and home. It’s time for you to start attending the necessary training programs and courses.

Sin 6: Withdrawal

When you start walking through your office and home like a zombie, then, you are retreating into your comfort cocoon which can affect your work and family. Says the book, “When one team member withdraws, the whole team suffers.” Penance: take a needle and prick your arms a thousand times until you regain your senses. We got to “stay focused on our mission and connected to others.”

Sin 7: Dysfunction

In one way or another, we all are dysfunctional and we “bring our dysfunction to work every day.” So how do we get through a normal day without going berserk? “We should learn to manage our neuroses—and those of our colleagues,” says Rosner et al. This is what teamwork is all about, living with our quirks and learning how to work with others’ quirks. Penance: write a zillion times, “T.E.A.M.”:  together each achieves more.

When you do this examination of your work conscience, remember that the important thing is recognizing we have fallen to temptation, and getting up every time.

Author: Regina Galang Reyes. Published in Metro Working Mom June 2004.

Photo credit: www.sxc.hu

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