Well made movies have great story telling that communicates messages in a very simple and easy to understand manner.
Recently, I saw Das Boot. I was bored and could not find another movie to watch. But it turned out to be the best 3 hours I spent in a long time. It has some surprising lessons in leadership, not something you’d expect to get from a movie told from a German’s point of view.
The whole thing about World War II and Nazis trying to take over the world and the way history is being told seems to paint all Germans during World War II as the bad guys. If you’ve seen Valkyrie, you know that is not true.
Was it Sun Tzu who said you can learn a lot from your enemies? For your purposes in the workplace, I’d replace “enemies” with people you thought were less than perfect, or otherwise guilty of bad behavior. What would happen in the workplace if you took the time to learn from people who are in your opinion, dysfunctional?
There are no enemies in today’s day and age, just people in pain looking for help. Violence is their cry for help. I could write a whole book on that subject. The leadership challenges we face are not trivial, or easy, or going to be solved any time soon. The only thing you can do is to give yourself a chance to succeed!
Everyone wants to succeed. Sometimes you and your co-workers may appear to do things that are not aligned to their desire to succeed. This may be puzzling and you may ignore it, as you do not have time for philosophical discussions (where there are no right or wrong answers), you just need to get the job done.
Forget your co-workers, first give yourself a chance to succeed. I’d suggest two things to try:
- Practice mindfulness. This is a combination of paying attention, being in the moment, and being fully aware of what is going on in your head, your body, and around you. It is difficult to get to this state, many people simply give up trying because it is “too hard” and so they will try it “later” when the current crisis has passed. The best time to start is NOW. Read my book to learn how. Or read other books, but for heaven’s sake get started!
- Suspend judgment. If you can avoid criticism, negative thoughts, or any kind of resistance, your mind will be open and vast like the ocean. And ready to receive. Keeping bad habits (like judgment) is like turning off your radio and wondering why there is no music. This is the next stage of improvement after mindfulness, though in my mind, they are heavily intertwined. You will see new perspectives, learn new things, and overcome your shortcomings with creativity and flair.
The point is, we all have talents that are like seeds waiting to become oak trees. Water those seeds with the two ideas listed above. There are more ideas, but don’t wait till you get a full inventory and taxonomy of ideas and solutions. In the journey to happiness and productivity in the workplace, all you need is a desire to get started. Once you get started, other ideas will magically appear to help you.