A few months ago I mentioned that there will be times when I will bring spirituality directly into a blog post. This post will be one of those times when it will lead the blog post. When I first mentioned it, a reader immediately messaged me and said that she loved my blog, but would not be returning because of the mention of religion. That's too bad because it makes me wonder if it hadn't be evident that I am led by, or at least want to be led by faith and trust in God; or her mind is made up that all religion is a certain way. Here's my thought on spirituality: I respect every faith that has goodness as it's basis. Goodness toward our fellow man, toward our environment, and our fellow creatures on earth. For myself, my faith is that God is love and He wants us to love one another. So, on with the post.
There are times, as a manager, that something happens that makes me have an initial reaction of anger. I know this is not a proper reaction to act on, so I try to wait until the emotion subsides before I approach the problem, if possible. If the issue needs an immediate response, I try to figure out what needs to happen first, and do that and push the emotions aside.
The other day I noticed that one of our employees had been on Facebook during business hours. I know that some employers have decided that this is one battle that they don't want to fight, but I don't want anyone playing on a social networking site when everyone else is working, and they are being paid, and trusted, to do the same. The employee, let's call her Laura, had left early with permission and had inadvertantly left her Facebook page minimized. When I was closing her computer at the end of the day, I saw it and my heart sank a little. I know that in the grand scheme of life, this is a little thing, but I trusted her not to do that and I'm always sad when my trust is chipped away. Now, I started thinking about those things that I'd been after her to do that were still left undone. I thought about viruses entering the system and disrupting our day. I had to wonder how she went about getting on the internet to begin with since it had been disabled on staff computers. (It's not hard after all, I figured it out pretty quickly). After all those thoughts came and went, it all came back to trust. Then the anger started to tickle it's way in. I thought it would be a great surprise for her to come in the next day to find her Facebook page maximized on her screen. I typed out a letter documenting the offense with a place for me, my boss and Laura to sign. I felt annoyed that she had caused me to have to do that. The thing that made me most annoyed was that my boss had just announced that he was sending us all to the spa for a day to thank us for all our hard work. This is how she shows her appreciation? Hmph!
That night happened to be the night I spend an hour at Adoration in our chapel. It is an hour dedicated to prayer and contemplation. As I sat there I prayed that God would show me how He would like me to handle the situation. You see, the anger had faded and I realized I just wanted to be fair to Laura, my boss, and the other staff who had been hard at work while she was on Facebook. The first thought that came to mind was, "What would I want someone to do if it had been me?" The answer was that I'd want them to give me another chance and not assume that I would just do it again. I would want them to think about my overall performance and behavior. I would want them to show mercy and consideration for me as a human being. Ok, God, but what about my boss? He's paying her to work, he just arranged a nice day to thank us all for all we do. Doesn't he deserve better? My thought then was, What makes us assume that we deserve everyone to be perfect for us? If, overall, they try hard and do their best, that's enough. As far as the other staff goes, they've all messed up at one time or another, as have I, and we've survived. I still didn't know how to approach the issue because I didn't want it to continue, but now I knew I didn't want to have that FB page maximized anymore either and the document was going into the shredder. What to do then?
As I left the chapel, our pastor, Fr. Martin, was standing outside alone. I asked him for advice and he said,
"Write her a short note saying that you saw that she was on Facebook, she knows she shouldn't be, and that you don't want her to do it again. Don't make a big deal out of it, give her a chance. Leave the note and see what she does."
That's it? So easy? So peaceful? That's when I realized that we make too much drama out of nothing sometimes. Fr. Martin and the rest of our priests are Franciscans. Franciscans are renowned as peacemakers, and known for their simple, approachable manner. They see the world and people differently. They build their own life around prayer and fraternity. For reference, to be fraternal, means to aim for mutual aid or benefit.
I realized that is the way to approach problems and people. Be with them when you lead them, not "in charge" of them. Love them if you want them to follow. I got into work early the next morning and closed the Facebook page. I fed the shredder and sat down and typed up a short note using Fr. Martin's words as my guide. I set it in front of her computer and went about my morning tasks. When she came in I greeted her as usual. She saw the note and read it and came to me immediately and apologized. I told her that I like to be able to trust her, and that I knew she would work to rebuild that trust. I told her that her overall attitude and performance was wonderful and that now that we had discussed it, I hoped it would be left in the past. I then went on to discuss patients for the day with her and tasks that I needed her to accomplish. In other words, peace. What could have been a tense, stiff, uncomfortable day, continued on in peace.
We have to remember that we lead as we are led and we choose who and what we follow. I searched out my lead and was directed to Fr. Martin. We have to remember to do that. We can't just think that we know best all the time. We have to wait and check our gut. Does the solution that seemed brilliant an hour ago now make you squirm a little? Whenever you solution ends up with some victory for you, examine yourself. Why do you need that? Do you need to feel powerful? Do you need to feel clever? Deal with yourself before you ever have the nerve to deal with anyone else. If you are spiritual, ask for guidance. Aim for fraternity with the other person. That's when you'll do the right thing and have peace.
Peace Prayer of St. Francis
- Make me a channel of your peace:
- Where there is hatred, let me bring your love,
- Where there is injury, your pardon, Lord,
- And where there's doubt true faith in you.
- Make me a channel of your peace:
- Where there's despair in life, let me bring hope,
- Where there is darkness, only light,
- And where there's sadness, ever joy.
- O Master, grant that I may never seek
- So much to be consoled as to console;
- To be understood as to understand,
- To be loved, as to love with all my soul!
- Make me a channel of your peace:
- It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
- In giving of ourselves that we receive,
- And in dying that we are born to eternal life.
- Whether you are spiritual, or not, nothing wrong with an attitude like that.