I turned 46 this week. 46? 46! Yup.
I like my birthday. I don't love it. I'm fortunate in the sense that I have kids and friends, and get texts and messages. Knowing there are people who think about you makes you feel good. But I don't know how to respond at my office.
I'm a much better giver than receiver. So I smile and say thank you, and try and be as polite and cordial as I can. I'm touched when people say happy birthday, because it takes effort, and when you're the boss, people sometimes just aren't sure how to communicate on a social level.
I work very hard to have personal relationships with our staff. From entry level to my executive team who are some of my closest friends. I want to know about their lives, give counsel when I can, and just listen and get to know them. I try and share stories of my life and show them it's okay to be vulnerable with coworkers.
So after I ate ribs and pizza with my family for dinner, I had some time to myself, and as I was reflecting, I began to think about perception.
I know I'm not great on my birthday, whether it's because I'm getting older and not sure I like being the old guy (better than being the dead guy!), or maybe because I'm not married and birthdays are more fun to share with someone. I don't know; however, it got me thinking about management, what I tend to write about.
My team may judge me on how I act on my birthday. Am I standoffish? And I curt? Am I fake in my response? I don't think I'm really any of those things, but I do know on my birthday, I'm not really myself.
What about my staff? Whether it's their birthdays or any other day, do we judge people on their behavior and attitude too much? Do we take any one day and over analyze whether or not they're happy? How about job interviews? Candidates get 30-60 minutes to make an impression. Do we ever account for their experiences leading up to that moment? What's happened in their lives to affect them at that point in time?
You may love your birthday. You may act the same way everyday no matter what life has sent your way. However, how about the other people you interact with? One day can make a difference, and when you are honest with yourself, you can begin to look at people through a different lens, too.
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