Pull Up a Chair

tableThis is Thanksgiving week. For most of us, the holiday presents an opportunity to sit down at a table with family and enjoy a meal together. This is something that rarely happens in my house. Most meals tend to be on-the-go, a hasty interruption to our individual agendas. Days go by without the entire family even being in the same house, much less at the same table. When we are all home, meals are typically devoured in front of the television; meaningful conversation can be hard to come by.

So when we do sit down together, without interruption, and visit as a family, it’s a special occasion – and a weird one. Spending time together like this feels awkward. It’s as if we’ve forgotten how to be a family. We don’t know how to engage each other. We don’t know how to ask good questions or how to really listen to the answers. I think silently, we’ve all been most thankful when the day of thanksgiving finally comes to a close and we can turn our attention to Christmas.

And that is a sad revelation to make.

We do the same thing in the work place. We like to think of our work teams as family; I’ve heard a lot of managers use that terminology when speaking about their team culture. But rarely do we act like one. We operate as individuals. We work in siloes. We pursue our own agendas and tolerate the periodic interruptions that force our attention to the team.

What if we changed the paradigm? What if we made every day Thanksgiving? What if we shifted our normal ways of operating to include more sharing with, laughing with, and listening to the people that (should) mean the most to us? Yeah, it would feel awkward at first, but so does everything else that moves us forward.

This Thanksgiving, I’m especially thankful for my team. I’m thankful for the way they pursue their jobs and look to make things better for all of us. I’m thankful for the times we share, discuss, argue, disagree, and ultimately decide to move forward together. Each member of the team has a unique perspective that they bring to the table. But I’d never know it without sitting down at the table with them.

My challenge to you this week is three-fold:

  1. Tell the members of your team how thankful you are for them.
  2. Schedule time to get together – sit at the table – and discuss the future of the team.
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 as often as you can going forward.

Happy Thanksgiving!