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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Charlie Brown's Christmas, Advice for the Workplace

 Kenya McCullun is back with her insightful thinking as to the meaning behind Charles Schulz' Charlie Brown classics. A freelance writer for the Examiner, she posted "5 Workplace Lessons from 'A Charlie Brown Christmas'".  Taking it a little bit further I've added my own spin on it.

Meeting your own expectations during the Holidays can be enough to set yourself up for emotional and physical exhaustion.  Home decorating, personal touch Christmas cards, brainstorming, gift shopping, baking, party plans, family obligations, the list just goes on.  People tend to overlook how their normal schedules aren't going to be too forgiving and magically create more time in a day.  If anything schedules become even tighter as projects need to be completed before year's end. Managers need to realize that his/her people are the business' most valuable resource.  The demands put upon them have to acknowledged with empathy and understanding.

1.  Charlie Brown feels unappreciated, invisible and lonely.  Even in our age of electronic communication, receiving a handwritten card is a personal touch always appreciated by the recipient.  Charlie Brown seeks empathy from Snoopy about his disappointment over not receiving cards in the mail.  Snoopy is more focused on his own business than to connect with Charlie Brown's state of mind.  Kenya compares this scene to that of the overlooked and undervalued employee who feels invisible to his/her boss.  A wise manager knows to connect with his personnel and really listen to what they have to say and offer to the job.

2.  Lucy offers her services of psychiatric advice, supposedly to help people.  To be able to go home at night knowing your chosen profession results in the improvement of peoples' lives, the bottom line is you still want to make money.  Lucy's advice may help her clients but in reality she is more appreciative of the money she is pulling in than the personal satisfaction of helping others.  Managers would be wise to be aware of personal situations outside of the workplace and make adjustments when necessary.

 3.  Lucy advises Charlie Brown to get involved in the school play.  In doing so, he'll raise his spirits by feeling a part of the group.  He soon finds out why the job was offered to him.  It was because no one else wanted to do it.  A word of advise for the workplace manager is to make sure the employees are fully aware what is expected of them.  People don't want to end up doing the dirty work no one else wants. 

4.  Charlie Brown made the mistake of being overly eager to gain the respect he craves.  He took charge but didn't communicate very efficiently to his staff.  His orders were not understood correctly, therefore not carried out as intended.  Respect is earned not by barking out orders and simply demanding obedience.  A good boss knows how to delegate, coordinate and time manage his/her people to optimize their skills.

5.  Sounds shallow, but Lucy believes a person's work doesn't matter unless they are striving to reach fame.  Schroader believes the joy is in the playing.  Personal achievement is in satisfaction with a job well done.  Good management respects that not all employees want to be in the limelight.  Some may want to be rewarded unceremoniously.