Saturday, January 31, 2009

Touch Someone Who

So I just spent from 7:30am to 5:oo pm at a retreat. I'm exhausted. I haven't had a shower. My stomach hurts. But it was a good day.

It was our staff development retreat.

I work as the Personnel Manager at the Info Desk/Box Office (IBOX) on campus and it's been a struggle finding a balance between continuing to be a friend to my employees and being a manager who has respect but still has to do all the write-ups/disciplining. I think I'm finally at a point where those are leveling out in a good way.

We focused on customer service today....the importance of internal and external customer service, our perceptions, etc. Customer service IS our business so that's what we decided to drive home today. And team building.

It was a lot of hard work...and some fun...but I think our staff is finally coming together, building, growing and becoming the better for it.

At the end of all of our stuff today we closed with an activity called Touch Someone Who. Everyone sits (or stands) in a circle with their eyes closed. The facilitator then chooses several people who walk around and touch the shoulder of someone who applies to the statement the facilitator reads off. It's anonymous because eyes are closed (other than those going around touching those it applies to). The statements read off were pretty profound. Who makes you laugh, who makes you smile, who you respect, who challenges you, who inspires you, who you appreciate, who you want to learn more about, who encourages you, and two others. The two I went around and touched people were who makes you laugh and who you appreciate. B, my boss, did that on purpose as I asked her not to choose things that if anyone was aware it was me, would show any partiality. As I stated before I'm in charge of disciplinary action and I don't want staff to think I take partialities and therefore someone is more prone to getting or not getting written up. Blah blah blah.

But what was really heart-touching and profound to me was the amount of touches I received. I know that there were eighteen of us playing the game. B chose four to walk around each time. Because of my job title and managing peers, there was some disconnect between the staff and I at the beginning. I was the "evil" student manager simply because I do all the disciplining, no matter where it comes from.

So to feel the many touches on my shoulder was incredible....especially for the who you consider a friend, who encourages you, who inspires you, who makes you smile, and who you respect. I got four each time. So it was really good to feel those touches. It's an easy but really uplifting and profound activity. I encourage you to try it.

It makes me realize that though I may not always know it from my staff, what I'm doing is respected and I am still considered a friend and someone who inspires and encourages my peers, but not only my peers but the peers that I strive to support in my workplace. Because that's my role: to make their jobs easier and support them to the best of my ability.

Here was my mission statement I wrote at the beginning of the school year and I know I'm not failing at it:

I strive to make this next year the most positive and individually rewarding job to the best of my abilities. I will bring a positive attitude, motivation and support to my staff. I strive to challenge them to do their best and grow form their experience working at the IBOX.

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