He’s a Mean One, Mr. Grinch


Article Contributed by Amy Sargent

It is the common assumption that the problem with the Grinch is that he was stingy. We’ve coined the phrase “he’s being a grinch” to refer to someone who doesn’t have the “holiday spirit”:  withholding presents, not decorating the house, refusing to join in the holiday festivities. But there’s an even deeper issue that resided in the small, shriveled up heart of the Grinch, one that many of us struggle with as well:  he didn’t know how to build bonds.

Building bonds is a competency of emotional intelligence and is vital in the workplace. It’s the ability to nurture and cultivate relationships in a way that surpasses the superficial and allows us to connect with others on a deep level. Those who build bonds make and maintain personal friendships among work associates, are able to appreciate the individual differences in perspective and background of their team members, and can rally the troops when needed. Those without it struggle with earning the respect of those around them because of a lack of trust.

Ask yourself these questions to discover whether you are grinch-link or not in the competency of building bonds:

  • Do I easily sever relationships when the going gets rough?
  • Do I have a limited number of teammates I can turn to when I need help?
  • Do I believe that being liked at work is overrated?
  • Do I feel that being friends with people I work with is not professional?
  • Do I compete with more often than I collaborate with my peers?

If you answer yes to any of the questions above, you may want to consider doing some work to begin to improve your ability to build bonds with others. Completing an emotional intelligence assessment and/or working with a coach can be helpful. But there are small steps you can begin taking, today even. Greet your coworkers with a “good morning” on your way to your office or cubicle. Keep your office door open when possible. Suggest meeting with coworkers informally (coffee, breakfast, lunch) on a regular basis, to learn more about them. Offer to help colleagues out when they seem overloaded. Be sure to focus on the people around you as much as the tasks at hand. Attend company parties. Remember co-worker’s birthdays. Engage in community activities and/or sign up to attend professional conferences to connect with others in your industry.

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming more interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you”.  — Dale Carnegie

These are just a few steps you can take to begin to improve your ability to build bonds. If this has been a struggle for you, for a while, it may some time before your coworkers are asking you to carve the roast beast. But continued efforts in this area will bring about closer, more connected relationships in the long run.

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