Being Kind when Everyone is Neglectful
I received the following question from one of you.
When in the work environment, there’s constant lack of accountability (no one is responsible for anything anymore – basically total chaos) that leads to constant lack of progress in a global way – how do you deal with communication? I’m trying to be kind in an environment where everyone is neglectful, and supervisors and managers have lost their grip – it’s total chaos. How can I be kind in this type of situation? When kind words are wanted but almost impossible to be spoken?
First, let me say that I completely understand the frustration you feel when you don’t agree with a supervisor or manager, your boss, or you feel they’ve lost their grip over their employees. And while you want to be kind, sometimes in these situations it can feel as if by being kind you’re promoting and applauding behavior you don’t think is helpful.
The way to be kind, honest, and helpful in this scenario is for you to say something to your supervisor or manager. I say this because you mention that you want to say kind words, but it’s almost impossible to do so. When an event, interaction, or someone’s behavior is changing the way you communicate, so that you’re no longer able to be kind, honest, and helpful, that’s when you know it’s time to say something. Because I don’t know the exact situation, there are many ways you could address what’s going on. It could be more that you want to share with them what you’re noticing or ask for a change.
Phrases like, “I’ve been seeing that myself and others are having a difficult time knowing what our responsibilities are. Is this something you could share with us in the next meeting so that we each know what our role is?” or “I thrive and am more productive in environments where I’m held accountable. Are there specific responsibilities you can give to me?” Or “I’m feeling confused as to what my responsibility is. Could you clarify this for me?” You want to focus on you and what can change for you – not on your office and what’s going on with others and the lack of leadership.
By saying something, you cause your manager or supervisor to stop and think. If you’re feeling this way, it’s possible other employees are as well; however, what it helps them do regardless is get clarity and set a boundary for you. If it doesn’t cause a ripple effect within the office, and you aren’t able to improve your situation (meaning they can’t follow through on your request), then you may decide that’s fine and stay or decide it’s time to find another position where there is more accountability demanded.
Your words are valuable and what you have to say is necessary.