When we imagine the workplace, we normally picture a group of people who have come together with common goals in mind: to do their jobs well and to earn a living. Most women tend to expect much more, though. According to John Baldoni, author of "Great Motivation Secrets of Great Leaders," many employees place about as much emphasis on job atmosphere and recognition as they do on pay. To create a workplace that inspires workers and fosters motivation, employers should practice some simple and effective forms of compassion and hospitality.
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For many women, compassion is something that comes naturally. If you find that you have trouble being compassionate in the workplace, it might be because you feel restricted in other ways. Pay attention to your facial expressions, especially when an employee or co-worker comes to you with a problem. According to Dacher Keltner, founder of the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley, we are naturally wired to show compassion, and we naturally recognize facial expressions that we associate with compassion. Consciously showing compassion on your face is an easy way to let the women in your office know that you care.
Women tend to judge others, especially in the workplace. It only makes sense that you would judge others in an environment where performance is everything. Sometimes, however, women deal with challenges and suffer in ways that are beyond their control. This is a great time to begin practicing compassion at the workplace. Offer help without rushing to conclusions. That being said, it's important to remember that this is not an excuse to let poor performances off the hook.
All businesses are part of larger communities. The best way to create a compassionate and hospitable workplace might be to push for an organization as a whole to get involved in a larger issue about which many women feel passionate. According to Judy Olian, former dean of the Penn State Smeal College of Business and current dean of UCLA Anderson School of Management, companies that organize to help good causes end up encouraging compassionate behavior within the workplace as well.
Being hospitable and compassionate in the workplace doesn't mean putting on rose-colored glasses and pretending that there aren't problems. Instead, it means looking for the good, even during troubling times. Chances are that each woman in your workplace is good at something. Recognize these talents and traits and let your co-workers know that they are appreciated. If one woman is always first to respond to an email chain, then let her know that you have noticed her punctuality. It might seem like a small thing, but recognition really can go a long way.
David Nelson has written about business, management and career guidance for companies such as Conjecture Corporation and Valley Direct Media and has worked in management and as a college level writing tutor. He has a Masters degree in writing from the New School Writing Program in New York City.