- Talent Management
I was recently at a yoga workshop and was surprised how much of the focus was on the concept of generosity. It was mentioned early on in the day, and I’m glad because then I had something to think about as I twisted and contorted my body in ways that will probably leave me sore for days. I don’t normally practice yoga, but my wife talked me into it, and I’m really glad I went. It was a good reminder that to stay healthy, you really need to keep your body moving and stretching. But what I kept thinking about throughout the day was how important generosity is in the workplace, even though we almost never talk about it openly.
People tend to think about generosity as applying mostly to their money, and the classic portrayal of the opposite of generosity is found in the Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol. I would encourage you to either read the novella or watch one of the many movie versions that exist (the Muppets move starring Michael Cain as Ebenezer Scrooge is particularly good). Even better, when the holiday season comes around again, keep your eyes peeled for a stage production of the story by a local theatre company, which can be a very powerful way to take it in.
Dickens first published the story back in 1843, and it’s impressive to consider how deeply rooted it has become in our culture. More than a name, scrooge is a noun that means the opposite of generosity. Ebenezer Scrooge is stingy and miserly, and he’s not a very happy person. The transformation he goes through towards the end of the play, sparked by his fear of premature death, leaves him generous and sharing, and he’s instantly a happier person.
Now apply this same line of thinking to the workplace. Can you imagine how much better work would be if everyone was less stingy and more generous? Here’s how I think generosity can play out in the workplace:
Here we are in the 21st century. We’ve weathered a Great Recession. Things are looking up. It’s at times like these that we should pay particular attention to cultivating the kinds of values that will result in long-term happiness and success in the workplace and beyond.