Do you have a Dog?

When I think about all the people I chat with every day: on the walk to school, throughout the workday, at the grocery store, my neighbors, I wonder just how much I know about them.

Not a lot really.

I often don't even know their name. And such it is with a lot of the people we come into contact with every day. We don't know much about them or them, us.

And most times, that's OK.

When it is NOT OK that we're this superficial and uninformed is when it is with the people who work for us. I worried a lot about this at my last job. It was the first time I managed people who managed other people. So two levels down were folks I interacted with less frequently. Not only did I delegate the safe keeping of my staff to my managers, I had to give up a bit of control over their well being.

And with that came a bit of detachment. I realized I barely said more than hi to a decent sized chunk of my department. I wondered if I even knew how most of them were doing. Were they happy? Busy? Challenged? I wondered how much I knew about them as a person. Were they married? Living in LA? Own a dog?

Did any of them own a dog? I had no idea. So that became my gauge by which I judged how much I connected with my team, especially the ones being managed by my direct reports. I wanted to chat with them enough to know (at the bare minimum) if they had a dog.

Make sure you are staying in touch with your team as human beings. Simple questions like are you doing ok? How's soccer going for your daughter? How was your trip to Joshua Tree?

When you take the time to know more about people, you connect on a deeper level. And when you have deeper connections within a team, you cultivate a deeper sense of respect and engagement.

All that for a dog.


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