I have been in my office for almost 5 years now and as far as I can remember there has been an empty chair near my desk. There isn’t anything specifically unique about this chair, in fact, it is the same type of office chair that I use and can be found at all the other desks in the building. However, it has become known as the “counselling chair” to everyone that I work with because of its frequent use by anyone to sit down and talk with me. I don’t recall how or when that chair came into my room, but its purpose has become so important to us that when others see a person in that chair through the window in my door, they know not to bother us and to come by later.
I’ve been able to share in the happiness of my peers when they share a happy occasion or a well fought successful business outcome. I’ve been able to comfort my employees when they tell me bad news. I’ve been able to assist people in finding a solution to their personal or professional problems. All while they have sat in that chair. As much as I am pleased to continue to try and help my coworkers that sit in “the chair”, I am just as pleased at the reciprocity of help I have received from those that sit in that chair. Just as many people that I have helped, have also come by to offer their assistance to me.
Now, I don’t want to keep waxing poetic about an office chair, because this post isn’t really about the chair. I joined a new managerial team in the same department a couple of months ago and my new manager wanted me to move into another office cohabitated by my new teammates. This new room that they wanted me to move into is not…. inviting, to say the least. They keep the door locked and some visitors are sometimes looked upon with a small sense of annoyance. Don’t get the wrong idea, the members of my new peer group are wonderful people that I considered friends and we attend each other’s kid’s birthday parties. One coworker is someone that I have come up through the company and into leadership with. The environment that they have created works very well and is very beneficial to how they prefer to work, it’s just not how I prefer to work.
So, I went to my new manager and stated this fact as a reason why I should stay in my current room. That I provide an added value to the department by being a servant leader to my employees, peers, and leaders; and that the environment in my current room helps me accomplish that. My manager, being a great servant leader themselves, saw this value as well and agreed that I should stay in my room.
And this is the point of this post. Is the environment you have created, conducive to the life you want to lead? Do you want a peaceful existence, but walk in a chaotic path? Do you put up barriers and obstacles when you in fact want to help people? Or worse, do you put up those walls when you need help? Whatever life you want to live, make sure to create the world in which you can live it.