Loving your work is child’s play. Seems crazy, huh? The Merriam/Webster definition of “Childish” says, “Befitting a child or childhood. Lacking complexity; simple.” In order to love your work more, try thinking and responding like a child. It’s simple: the things that interest you are the very things that energize you the most.
By the time most kids are in middle school, the adults around them have begun teaching them to be practical. “Go to school, get good grades, find a good job and keep it.” Not very inspiring messages for a child, high school or college student, or even a thirty-year-old to hear. Little by little, kids stop believing that their dreams can come true. The important thing about investing in the heart and mind of a child is to direct them toward confidence in accomplishing something, even if it’s catching a ball for the first time or doing a fun, silly dance.
Dr. Stuart Brown, founder of “The National Institute for Play,” states:
When employees have the opportunity to play, they actually increase their productivity, engagement and morale. Not only does having a playful atmosphere attract young talent, but experts say play at work can boost creativity and productivity in people of all ages.
So what does loving your work have to with “childish” interests? The very things that guide a child toward being interested in something are the same things that cause adults to love what they do. Consider creating a working culture that can captivate talented people and aim them toward wonderful goals.
Here are 5 ways you can turn your work into child’s play:
1. Make the Destination Clear
(Child’s play view: “We are so happy to go there!”)
- Builds anticipation
- Creates energy
- Causes multiple conversations at all levels
- Easily marks visible progress
2. Likable People Matter
(Child’s play view: “My favorite friends are there”)
- Fun, enjoyable people are magnets
- Creativity and collaboration is a natural outcome
- Spontaneity and risk stands a better chance
- Relational equity builds equity
3. Build Trust
(Child’s play view: “I am not afraid”)
- Casts out fear
- Strengthens every process
- Every team member benefits
- Negativity doesn’t stand a chance
4. Applaud Curiosity
(Child’s play view: “Why do dogs bark?”)
- Identify trends and patterns from which to learn
- Lead discussions on “a better way” to accomplish something
- Have “surprise” collaborative discussions
- Develop a learning, listening culture
5. Play-Time is a Value
(Child’s play view: “Playing with my friends is the best”)
- Playing boosts communication
- Not taking ourselves so seriously
- Exchange a few meetings for play-time
- Instills fun competition which translates to healthy motivation
What are some ways you can incorpoate child’s play into your team this week?