With the entertaining we’ve done lately and more coming up, I’m marveling over the quality people around us. What occurred to me is that we are very fortunate to be surrounded by a loving community of friends and neighbors. When I look at my professional life, I’ve noticed it’s the same there as well. It’s humbling, as neither used to be this lovely.
Having a close community of personal friends and colleagues is a gift. When you are welcome in one another’s homes with a moment’s notice, or no notice at all, you know you have something special. When you have work colleagues you can share exactly what you think without concern of consequences, you know you have something special there as well.
What are the traits of a healthy community of friends and colleagues? Having gone through an evolution to get to this place, I have some thoughts about what’s important. See what you think:
What makes a personal community healthy? In our neighborhood, we actually have been given a nickname. The name is ridiculous, apropos to nothing and we love it –it’s “Tater Knob”. Since we are slightly elevated on higher ground, we are “Upper Greater Tater”, those at the other end of our street are “Lower Greater Tater”. The fact that we even have a name that people use and make jokes about says something about the closeness of our community.
What we have are things I suspect most people want.
We have long term relationships with each other. Most of us have raised our children and have gone through many seasons of change together. We celebrate birthdays, all the holidays, and every party is pot luck. Sharing is the back bone of our relationships.
Sharing means the playing field is level. It’s simple, easy and effortless.
Endemic to sharing is the caring that underpins all actions. We keep up with each other – we know the patterns of one another’s lives. We check in, we know what’s important, we attend one another’s events, we go places and travel together. There is never any doubt that we care about one another.
Caring means that what happens matters and you respond in kind.
Because we are in relationship with one another and have developed a caring, sharing community, we do things for and with each other. We help, when help is needed. We give to each other; we cook for each other. Most of all, what we do together is fun. We specialize in having fun together.
Doing means being accountable to each other while having fun while at the same time.
What makes for a healthy professional community? It’s wonderful to be able to define my work environment without the politics that are typical of the corporate world. Being self-employed and consulting means I’m able to move in numerous professional milieus. Now that I think about it, they all have qualities in common. They reflect my choice and clear intention to find quality work environments.
So, what are the attributes most important for a healthy professional community? Here’s what I think:
I enjoy and admire the people I work with. It’s easy, they reflect the same values and sense of purpose. When you are aligned around similar work ethics and intentions, the shared focus of dedication makes you close. There are no power hierarchies, just clear principled commitment and dedication.
Respecting your colleagues, knowing you share the same principles and objectives, leaves you free to focus on what matters.
When you have confidence in your colleagues, there is an ease that gives you the space to attend to what ‘s important. Knowing the contrast of not having it, makes me aware of how precious this is. So many work environments are politically contentious, it’s hard to know who to trust as the ground often shifts in many directions. I’m very grateful for the trust I feel.
Trusting your colleagues means that you can rely on them, making collaboration a possible and preferred work dynamic.
Respect and trust allows for openness in communication and in all business matters. It promotes sincerity, honesty and directness. Having been in environments where it’s treacherous to be completely open and direct, I still marvel over this gift. Being real and straightforward means a straight line can be draw between an idea and its execution, there is no BS or hierarchical agenda. What a relief.
Openness in business relationships means there is sincerity, truthfulness and the ease of honest communications.
These qualities are what I consider to be the basic ingredients of healthy communities of friends and work colleagues. Having experienced many different situations where these principles were not always present, the distinction is noteworthy. Being able to care enough about your friends that sharing and doing for them is taken for granted, is a joy. Equally joyous, is being able to trust your colleagues enough to respect them while also being fully open.
Does this highlight things that you’d like more of in your life? I understand. I worked very intentionally to get to this place of congruence. If you’d like help to create more healthy communities in your personal or professional life, my Transformational Coaching can help. See my website www.spectrumtransformation.com for more information. I offer a Free Consultation to help you determine if what I offer meets your needs. I look forward to hearing from you!
- Art photo – “Visions of a Healthy Community.”, Mural by Misha Tyutyunik, South Bronx, NY, www.groundswellmural.org.