Do you get disappointed when your colleagues let you down? Do you feel frustrated when your team doesn’t perform well? And what do you feel when you are the one letting others down or underperforming? A huge amount of time and money is spend each year on the quest to ‘get it right’. We even have our phrases such as ‘right first time’ or ‘right every time’ to describe our goals. Our mission statements include phrases like ‘we aim for customer delight’. Training programmes are designed to ‘maximise team effectiveness’ or ‘enable staff to reach their full potential’. Individuals are encouraged to take control of their learning and maximise their skills. We do not like mistakes or inefficiency. We strive to eliminate error and we strategize for high standards. Of course the higher the standards, the greater the disappointments when we get it wrong. Our frustration with our colleagues and ourselves rises with our expectations of success. The driven nature of our workplace may drive up standards and drive out complacency but it’s also driving people to become stressed. The reason is that it flies in the face of reality. Teams mess up and people mess up. Whole companies mess up: sometimes by accident, sometimes through ignorance, sometimes by sharp practises and self-seeking behaviour. So why do we get so surprised and disappointed and then stressed about it? Jesus’ closest friend said, “If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” Self-deceit is very stressful: it makes it hard to accept mistakes; it makes it hard to apologise;it makes it difficult to accept others for who they are. Some time ago a book came out called ‘I’m OK – You’re OK’ which was about not trying to control or manipulate others. Whilst I agree with that sentiment we should have management books which recognise ‘I’m a Mess – You’re a Mess’. Of course people will let you down. Of course teams will be dysfunctional. Of course people will be self-seeking. We are sinners – pretending that we’re not is self-deceiving and therefore stressful. Maybe you are stressed in your work today because you have forgotten that you are a sinner working with sinners. The answer is not to be found in just another training course but through confession and forgiveness. It’s good for the soul it’s good for stress and it’s just downright true. Work Well.
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