When I first started at the United Way, I already knew a couple of the folks from other community connections. A few of the agencies who call The Redpoll Centre home were familiar to me because of the volunteering I had completed with them. However some agencies (and many people) were completely new to me.
As with any new experience, there is a steep learning curve and for me learning the names of the people who surround me every day would fall into this category. I never forget a face but I have always had some trouble remembering names. I had particular trouble with one gentlemen’s name who works here and I have called him Brad, Bob and Brad again. Each time he smiled and patiently reminded me that his name was Brent. I am reminded that calling someone a name that is “close” doesn’t count!
In an effort to get to know my fellow Redpoll Centre colleagues, I implemented a personal challenge: have one meaningful conversation with each person at least once a week. That is how Leadership Card Friday came into existence.
I wanted a reason to go around and say hello to each person, call them by name and have a short but meaningful conversation. The first week I took a stack of “Leadership” cards with me and asked each person who was around that Friday afternoon to choose a card from the deck. Each card has a leadership quote on it from numerous different leaders. They could choose to keep it or return it – depending on the message which may fit that day or it may not. The conversations we had around the particular card they chose was thoughtful and revealing. More importantly, the other stories that were shared were equally meaningful. I have learned about children and families, weekend plans, previous jobs, views on leadership and volunteer experiences.
Last Friday I was not going to bother with the “Leadership Card Friday” because there were fewer folks in the office area. Toward the end of the day one gal said “It’s leadership card Friday and I am waiting for my card. When are you coming around, I want to make sure to be at my desk” Until that moment I had no idea that this little ritual had become part of other people’s Friday afternoon too. Needless to say, I gathered my leadership cards and went about for the Friday afternoon ritual of connecting.
In what ways to do you connect with your colleagues? Perhaps Leadership cards aren’t your thing. Do you have rituals that offer you an opportunity to connect in unconventional ways? Perhaps you have popcorn once a week, celebrate birthdays with cake or have the occasional potluck at work that brings people together.
Here is the quotation on the card I chose this morning which seems to fit quite nicely:
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” – Dale Carnegie.
Have a lovely week ahead. Please feel free to stop by any time and ask me for leadership card (even if it’s not a Friday).