Thursday, October 8, 2009

Play Nice

Play nice. How many times have we heard that same sentiment?
As a parent I can attest to having spoken it, whispered it with gritted teeth, and occasionally even shouted it, for the benefit of my own children and their playmates.
I'm not sure I could have coined a more effective term on my own (though for the sake of proper English, I might have chosen
"play nicely" as an alternative--but if it ain't broke...).
Oddly enough, many seem to believe this age old command should be limited to the sandbox or the classroom, but I would argue that these two words would serve as an invaluable addendum to workplace policy.
I'm guessing for most of us, there would be little challenge in producing the names of a few ill-mannered candidates who might find such a policy limiting or unfair.
Naturally, those most offended by such policy are likely the ones in greatest need of reform.

But what does it mean exactly, 'play nice?'
An internet search offers unlimited results. At the risk of overstating the obvious however, I would offer the following three simple tenets:
Play nice = Be kind. Be fair. Share.
Though the former two might be open to interpretation, the latter is most definitive and in my opinion, most effective.
Quite simply, sharing ones resources is a boon to workplace civility.
Especially when said resources include candy.
I suppose there is plenty of statistical heft to support my claim should you wish to confirm my findings.
Admittedly however, I am one of the "see it to believe it" skeptics.
I've seen the efficacy of such a practice and therefore,
I believe in it.

Allow me to explain.

I am a new employee to a fairly busy office.
On any given day, the foot traffic to which we are exposed can potentially make or break the mood of a generally cheerful staff. Too often it seems, that a crotchety, abrasive few who have occasion to visit, would otherwise deposit the negative aura that tailgates them, leaving it to contaminate our happy place-- were it not for the brilliance of our fearless leader.
The habitual positivity of our immediate staff might likely be attributed to a wise, caring boss who understands that people, young and old, are in need of three fundamental things; consideration, compassion, and candy.
The latter, offering instant satisfaction is resolved by strategical placement of an ever-full basket of assorted confections.
The basket sits at the immediate entrance to our office, allowing for the dissipation of bad mojo, even before those affected cross the threshold to where our staff resides.
It would seem as though their negativity is synonymously peeled away with the unwrapping of each confection.
The candy not only offers to quell a potentially melancholy mood, but it also serves as an opportunity for interaction and dialogue. Every hand in the basket is greeted by one of our staff and very few attached to those hands fail to respond.
Most often, the end result is that visitors leave happier than when they entered, having been momentarily distracted for the sake of
pleasant chit-chat and a much needed sugar high.

I know what you're thinking; this is all too simple, right?
I'm not suggesting that free candy is the answer to world peace (though it might be worth discussing). I am simply suggesting you consider revising workplace behavior to include a happy element to be shared with others, preferably one that is easily digested.

What perplexes me about all of this, is why anyone would want to include the candy-basket on the list of recession-induced cutbacks; an ugly prospect brought to our table time and again.
Unless of course, those initiating the cutbacks can be identified as the currently degreed and empowered playground bullies of yesteryear.
If that's the case, then I considerately and compassionately have
only this to offer:

Play nice people, play nice.
And have a piece of candy.

This is my truth;


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