|Carl Mazzanti is the president of eMazzanti Technologies in Hoboken.
||Earlier this year, a close friend took his life. The thought that he would not wake up the next day breaks the hearts of the many people who knew and appreciated him. Sadly, it seems like it takes a tragic event like this to make us realize how even the little things we do — or neglect to do — can affect people.
Perhaps it starts with a smaller-than-expected balance in your bank account, a car that does not start, or a computer that does not boot up. Each of us has responsibilities, and it can all too easy to become so consumed with achieving those day-to-day goals — running a company, completing a report on time, meeting the needs of clients — that we do not notice when someone else is struggling.
Yes, we all have responsibilities, but would it cripple our operations if each of us takes a few minutes from our busy schedules to take a deep look at our close friends or co-workers and see how they are truly doing?
Too often, we do not really understand or hear the people we socialize with or work with. Too often they keep on striving to do the right thing, but they only get feedback when something is wrong. “You are taking too long; it is the wrong color, or the wrong height, or it is too expensive, or the procedure is not a good fit.” It seems like in our hectic society, where perfection is the only standard, no one says, “Thank you for doing a good job” when things go right.
So everybody tries to be a hero — but does anyone thank Superman for a job well done?
Begin with small steps.
Every one of us has the ability to start to change that, beginning with small steps. If you run a business, take a few minutes out of your hectic day to communicate with your employees. Of course it is easier to do so when your company is small, but you can make an effort even if your business is growing or if it is already larger. One way is to draw up a list of employees, and group them into manageable sections — perhaps by physical location — so you can stop by and chat with a few at a time just to see what is on their mind.
And the same strategy can work with your friends. Try to visit, in person, friends that live within a reasonable distance, and connect by video with those who live farther away. Be alert for signs of unease or distress, and do not hesitate to offer them the chance to let them share what is on their mind. They may not expect you to provide a solution, but will appreciate having a safety valve where they can unload their concerns.
Support them, do not judge them – It’s the little things.
Even as we reach out to co-workers and friends, every one of us should consider whether we have our own safety valves. Are you responsible for multiple business operations, and the well-being of employees and clients? They turn to you for solutions, but who do you turn to when you feel frustrated or burned out? And you catch plenty of flack when things go wrong — missed earnings or a delayed product rollout. But who pats you on the back when things go right?
I personally am taking the time to forge better connections with my friends and employees, and have resolved to be a better listener. Attending the too-early funeral of one friend was an experience I do not wish to repeat.
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