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Gardening at Work

Nia-Alyese Boyd  | October 6, 2020 | 4 minute read

Gardening at Work

Nia-Alyese Boyd | October 6, 2020 | 4 minute read

Gardening at work

Some of the most important and time-consuming relationships are those established in our work environments. Not only do we have relationships with our work peers, supervisors, or employees, but an important relationship between ourselves and the actual work we do exists as well. Regardless of your position, being present and productive at work means showing up whole with authenticity, openness, self-awareness, a commitment to excellence and an ability to establish and maintain appropriate boundaries.  

Workforce management styles create and foster the environment in which professional relationships can thrive or wither on the vine.  There is no one way to manage employees or to lead a team, but to achieve the most desired outcomes, flexibility is essential in every workplace – even remote ones.  Deadlines may be concrete but creating space for different work and learning styles encourages individuals to bring their best without fear of judgement regarding their process. Just like providing water for plants, this kind of management allows creativity and a range of problem-solving strategies to flourish.

Research indicates that developing and maintaining work/life balance results in greater productivity. People who feel emotionally supported tend to reach their goals without experiencing burnout even when high levels of productivity are required. Of course, most managers are not counselors but making resources available for employee health and well-being is a necessary component of good management.  Encourage laughter and support joy.

People also tend to thrive in environments where diversity is appreciated and where disparate treatment based on race and/or gender, ability and beliefs is addressed as soon as it surfaces. Discrimination of any sort must be weeded out before irreparable damage is done to any individual, groups of individuals, or the work environment itself.  Respect for those you work with is as important as sunlight is for plants. When this does not happen, having dependable protocols in place that protect victims from retaliation and other further harm is a necessity for running, and participating in, an ethical work environment.

Listen and speak up when you see disparity and discrimination rear their ugly heads.  Individuals who have faced any kind of discrimination are aware of its manifestations and repercussions. While creating the most healthful environment for working relationships certainly starts at the top, everyone should feel welcomed in helping shape the rules of engagement. Being able to give and receive constructive feedback and alternate perspectives is helpful in this regard.

Entering any kind of relationship takes thoughtfulness, consideration, self-awareness, and communication. Regardless of your career trajectory, whenever possible, make sure your professional relationships are a good fit. We don’t put a good size plant in a tiny pot, but always in a container that allows room for growth. Consider your interests, talents, goals, and aspirations. Think about what kind of work and work environments stir your soul even when it isn’t pay day. Be willing to learn and teach, be willing to make mistakes, be willing to address your needs, be mindful of the needs of those you work with, and watch your garden grow.

Relationships are too important not to tend as if they were precious plants in a prized garden. Those we interact with grow and change over the course of their careers just as we do. Compromise, understanding, and individual growth enhance the commitments we make no matter what kind of relationship we’re in. The most important one to work on is the one you have with yourself. If you are unsatisfied with your life, no work place will ever be good enough and if you are in a toxic work environment, you cannot transform it alone.  Take good risks when opportunities for self-development are presented, but don’t be afraid to ask for help if you witness or experience pain at work. 

About the Author

Nia Boyd has a diverse background in education, social justice scholarship and pedagogy, intuitive counseling, and holistic healing.  Establishing and maintaining a sense of community is paramount in her work with individuals and teams seeking optimal success with work/life balance, conflict management, compassion in work-related missions, and writing projects.  Currently, Ms. Boyd works with Hurdle contributing to their original content as a writer, editor, and thought partner.

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