As many of us waddle back into the office after a week or two of eating, drinking, and being merry, I for one start thinking about how I can get back on track with a healthier life style. This is the time of year that I start hearing about co-workers teaming up for a weight loss program. Some teams put money into a pool for the biggest loser; they weigh in once a week and begin walking together during lunch. The thought is to support co-workers in their efforts for self-improvement and to help each other meet those healthy goals established for the New Year. But, my comments are really more focused on the team effort rather than the goal of losing weight. As everyone jostles for position on the ladder (or tries to keep their job), competition is very strong in the workplace. Most people do not purposely undermine their co-workers, but support is sometimes hard to give when there is an underlying fear of job loss or stagnation. Support like giving positive feedback, thoughtful suggestions for improvement, or last minute project assistance can be tough if you are in competition. So, I have a suggestion for a New Year’s resolution that you can actually keep: Ask for help from your co-workers. No, this isn’t a sign of weakness and it doesn’t make you vulnerable. Just like the weight loss team, if you seek help you can also give help, and that is a two-way street that will have you on track for a happier work life in 2012.
Written By: Ellen R. Charlebois, Senior Partner