How about you? Does your pulse quicken like it did when you confront what is now a familiar situation that you might have initially thought dire or dangerous?
I work at a relatively young organization, but we have a mix of seasoned professionals of ten-plus years along with newer employees with about three years of experience. At the present time weâ€™re experiencing what Iâ€™ll refer to as the â€œdoldrums.â€ Not that there isnâ€™t enough excitement â€” I think it may be more a matter of the same sorts of excitement. Not apathy, lethargy or without care. Just â€œho hum.â€
My assessment leans less toward attitude than it does toward complacency or boredom. What I sense has the feel of laissez faire rather than lackadaisical. Still, this atmosphere appears to me to be trending toward improper response and negative outcomes.
What to do?
Ah, thatâ€™s the challenge. â€œTo train, perchance to learn, ay, thereâ€™s the rub.â€ (My apologies to William Shakespeareâ€™s Hamlet.) You see, training by any of its names still requires â€œbeing thereâ€ â€” a classroom of live bodies not completely adrift in boredom.
There is, of course, a bit more history behind this atmosphere Iâ€™m describing. Iâ€™ll give you the bullet points, perhaps enough to paint a picture:
My initial efforts, in addition to assessing the atmosphere for learning, holding talks and consensus-building, are being directed toward research. Before heading into the classroom, Iâ€™ve got to learn what I can about building effective supervisory skills, teamwork and confidence in an experienced, skilled and competent group of employees.
Pretty straightforward, you say? Have you ever attempted to cull through the literature addressing this?
Iâ€™m confident that effective methods exist, but Iâ€™m at a crossroads. I want to rather quickly go about addressing the fall-out of our past history. That will set the stage for future learning. But I donâ€™t want to give the illusion that the complacency or boredom has been corrected.
Iâ€™m looking forward to what we might be able to accomplish in the very near future. (What was it that P.T. Barnum said?)
SIDEBAR: What to do
Source: Adapted from European Resource Development, www.ehrd-portal.org