Should we FORGIVE our work colleagues like we do our FAMILIES?

January 31, 2011

Forgiveness sign

I’m reading Business Stripped Bare which is one of Branson’s books published in 2008 and he talks about the concept of ‘family’ within business. It’s a concept I am familiar with, having being associated with the Flight Centre Group for a number of years, and seeing first hand their strong belief in Family/Village/Tribe.

Branson talks about it in his book from a different angle, which I think is quite relevant to think about and reflect on with our clients. The concept of family when it comes to the amount of patience, tolerance and forgiveness in the workplace.

I think it’s very easy to ‘get the shits’ with our colleagues, managers and/or direct reports when they are in a mood, being a ‘bit off’ or simply acting in a way that is affecting our ability to do our work, in the way we’d ideally prefer. However these are the people that we rely upon to contribute to our business and it’s the sum of all those parts/ contributions that makes the success of the business.

There is a consensus that a good team is made up of very different people, different personalities, traits and tendencies, so in fact without the common genes, maybe we need to work harder to accept the good, the bad and the difference in our colleagues, than we do at home with our families?

“A lot of companies these days call themselves ‘families’. Usually, this is just an embarrassing bit of public relations flannel. I think companies can be like families,  that it’s a good approach to business. And that Virgin’s created better corporate families than most. We’ve done it by accepting the fact that we have to think beyond the bottom line.

Families forgive each other. Families work around problems. Families require effort, and patience. You have to be prepared to take the rough with the smooth. You have to put up with troublesome siblings. They’re your family: you can’t just throw them out on the street.

He then goes on to say:

“Many elements of leadership can be prepared in advance, planned and rehearsed. You don’t have to be Winston Churchill to be a good leader. That said, I think there is such a thing as natural leadership. It takes a certain generosity of spirit to trust people, and to judge their merits and limitations fairly”.

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