Well, I Guess If Everyone Else Is Doing It…
If the majority of people are doing something wrong, does that make it OK? If the majority of people are speeding on the roads, does that make it OK for everyone to do it? If the majority of Line Managers are overloaded with their own work and not having enough time to support their staff members, is that OK then, because everyone’s in the same boat? I think you’ll know what my answers to those questions will be, a resounding NO! But it’s actually harder not to go with the flow isn’t it? It takes more energy to do what you think is right, rather than settle into less than fabulous behaviours because life is easier that way. Have you disconnected with what you believe to be right because it’s too hard to push back or resist an overwhelming tide of less than helpful behaviours? Well, I guess if everyone else is doing it….
While you might find the energy to start and lead a process of change, in terms of culture and behaviours it can be exhausting to sustain the momentum if you’re hitting resistance every step of the way. People don’t always love an agitator, particularly if they shine a light on their own less than perfect behaviours. Being an ‘agent for change’ can be a lonely place and the faith to fight on in the face of adversity can be tiring and relentless. So, should you try to make changes or just let everyone else get on with it, knowing that an ever-increasing negative culture, either at work or at home is developing?
There are lots of considerations to inform whether you can or will do something to facilitate change but some carefully landed questions can make a difference, which I’ll come onto a bit later. The first consideration is, can you influence change? Are you in a position to do that? If not, there are still ways to agitate but ultimately you might have to decide whether you’re in it for the long haul, can tolerate the current environment and stay well, or need to look at alternative options for a kinder and more constructive environment. The next consideration is, how likely are you to succeed? Even if you’re in a position of influence, if you’re surrounded by doubters and the perpetrators of less than fabulous behaviours, you may well struggle to make a case for change which then becomes embedded into the wider organisational or family culture. Is that an argument for not doing it? No, but it’ll give you a sense of the steep hill you’ll need to climb and whether you can find allies and fellow agitators to support your efforts.
Easier Not To
So probably best not to bother then? Everyone else is doing it a certain way and we’d be best just to accept it all as inevitable then I guess? Sigh. Errr, no!! While it can be hugely difficult to be in an environment where your personal values and behavioural preferences are not met, that’s not an excuse to behave in a way which you would normally deem to be unacceptable. I talked a couple of weeks ago about not being complicit in less than fabulous behaviours and how it can be difficult to be the one to ‘stick your head above the parapet’ but maybe there is a balance to be had which enables you to stay in a less than fabulous environment but stay true to yourself too.
So, to the questions. These might be things you ask yourself or other people but they can help to clarify the problem and consider whether the people around you are up for implementing change. Because while we can all be a bit lazy and get into comfortable behaviours, even when they’re not great for anyone, it can be surprising how much support you can find if you have the courage to speak up.
- Do we support each other to be well?
- Are we being kind to each other?
- Do we support each other to succeed?
- When did we last stop to recognise and celebrate our achievements?
- Do we know who has significant life events planned for this year?
- Do we know who’s struggling?
I appreciate these are closed questions but sometimes that’s what we need to make a bigger impact. Are we being kind to each other? No. That will focus people’s minds. You might then say, ‘what does us being kind to each other look like?’ and that can build a different conversation as kindness will mean different things to different people and some of their ideas might be doable, whereas giving everyone the week off, less so! 😉 If everyone else is doing these less than helpful things, maybe we can nudge, chivvy, kick, thump (metaphorically only please!) them into returning to more helpful behaviours by leading by example. Most people are good people, with kind hearts and generous thoughts but it does seem that sometimes when we get together, we do start to behave in less positive ways which can then become normal surprisingly quickly. Just like a bottle of wine on a Friday or a Tuesday take-away. That’s what we always do on a Tuesday! 😊 Sometimes it’s just about looking at our own behaviours and then other people’s to see if we’ve descended into patterns of behaviour which at one time we would never have deemed acceptable.
Just Do It Most Days!
Just because everyone else is doing it…doesn’t mean it’s OK. It is harder to move against the crowd but your personal pride and self-esteem will be stronger for it, to know that you have been true to yourself and acted on what you believe to be right. And yes, some days you’ll be low on energy and will go with the flow when you kinda know that you shouldn’t have. Hey ho, we all have those days. Just get back to it as soon as you can and let other people see your strength. Because even if you don’t manage to change the whole culture, people will see and admire your role model behaviours and that means you can walk with your head held high. And that alone will make you smile and help to connect you with your inner strength 😊
Take good care please, lead beautifully by example and have a great day.
Best wishes, Karen