The shock of the horrendous violence in Boston will linger in all our hearts for a long time. Thankfully, an even more powerful memory is the goodness of people coming to the aid of so many — the heroic stories, the rescuers, and the survivors — will thrive despite the explosions. In our hearts we know – that just like 9/11 – we won’t let fear stop us from living a life of freedom. As we viewed in Boston, we are committed to take care of each other in the midst of disaster and when people are in need – be it hurricane, fire, bombing or accident. We are all Boston Strong!
Please forgive this awkward segue, but as a writer, observer and trainer of leadership, my mind wanders into the habits of humans in business. I am in a quandary about why we are so supportive of people in need in our personal lives, yet not in the business world. Do we need a tragedy to watch out for our fellow man or woman? It’s true that some of us are always there for each other when one needs a job, a business referral or advice. There are those who link out to each other on a regular basis, connecting people who can help one another. Yet too few of us on the management or senior executive track take time to mentor or sponsor a promising co-worker or colleague. Why is there a missing link? Don’t we want to see others succeed? Is it only ‘we’ or ‘I’ who matters? Supporting our colleagues will produce better results for the companies we work for and will benefit ultimately benefit us as well. Plus it’s the right thing to do. In a recent article in The New York Times, Adam Grant, the highest rated professor at Wharton, says “helping is not the enemy of productivity, a time-sapping diversion from the actual work at hand; it is the mother lode, the motivator that spurs increased productivity and creativity.”
What stops us from helping in business? Is it fear that if we support the success of others, our success will be diminished? Do we believe if we compliment or praise another’s good work, ours will be seen as not good enough? I believe it is a lack of confidence along with irrational insecurities that impact our behavior. Real-life examples, many which I site in my book “LINK OUT”, as well as research, noted in Grant’s new book “Give and Take”, tell the true story: when we support others, we get the greatest reward. When one person succeeds, we all succeed. Am I wrong in believing that women might need to learn this message slightly more than men? Some women tend to be more fearful and insecure in the world of business, while in our personal lives, we are nurturing and supportive. It just could be one of the barriers that stops us from moving ahead.
It’s time to change from fear to giving. It’s a key element in my book LINK OUT. It will help boost the economy, and open doors for talented people including women and millennials, and maybe even you. Let’s all be ‘Boston Strong’ in every facet of our lives.