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Peer SupportKeeping The Spirit Alive
By Christine Corelli
You've heard the expression "no one is an island unto himself." We all need help and support through life. In today's business climate, this statement has never been more accurate. Companies are requiring more work from fewer staff and have higher performance requirements, while resources that help maintain high morale have been trimmed or eliminated. Under these conditions, business professionals are experiencing higher levels of job stress and many companies are finding it difficult to maintain high morale. There's an essential team skill companies can apply that can help. It's called peer support.
Peer support is simply an aspect of a company culture which requires that all individuals help, support and reaffirm each other, work together to solve problems, and ultimately, maintain high performance. Territorialism, pettiness, gossip, passing the buck, and competitiveness does not exist. Neither does the phrase, "It's not my job."
How does a company instill peer support and how do people practice it?
To provide an internal boost to morale, peer support must be promoted and demonstrated by management and practiced by all. It goes without saying that it must be genuine.
The best way to start is to use your eyes and ears, and rely on your EARS as your guide:
Encourage, Appreciate, Respond and Support.
It is a basic human need for people to feel a sense of approval, accomplishment and fulfillment in their work. When you see someone who is working hard and doing their best, give them all the positive reinforcement you can. It doesn't have to be formal, it can simply be a compliment such as, "Joe, you've been working so diligently on that project, but if there's anyone who can get the job done, it's you." (Of course, use your own style.) Regardless of your job position or status, make it a habit to communicate this way often. Here's why: When you make positive comments it brings out the best in others and yourself. And, each time you say something encouraging, you are putting a small surge of positive energy into that person and into your company.
It's always gratifying to hear positive reinforcement such as, "I admire the way you handled that issue at the meeting." Make it a habit to show others that you value and appreciate them. Let them know that you appreciate not only what they do for you, but also for your department and your company. And don't forget, your boss needs your support and to be appreciated, too.
If you see someone who appears to be under stress, don't ignore it. It shows you care about the well-being of those around you. Sometimes just talking about an issue or concern helps. Encourage the person to talk without focusing on "Ain't it tough?" Provide appropriate support such as, "You always come through, Steve."
Help to rekindle the "spirit of your workplace" and focus on making a difference in your company by encouraging and supporting those around you. If you make it an all-company effort to practice peer support, you may find something magical in it.
"In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame
by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful
for those people who rekindle the inner spirit."
©Copyright 2003 - Christine Corelli & Associates, Inc.
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Christine is best known as the author of the popular books,Wake
Up and Smell the Competition and The
ART of Influencing Customers to BUY From YOU. As a keynote speaker,
conference speaker, and sales trainer she is superlative in her field. Her impressive client list includes Fortune 100 corporations, prominent national associations
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