by Oyindamola Olusunmade-Odunuga
Being a change agent for transformation within the workplace starts by looking inwards. We contribute the most to transforming our workplaces when we ourselves are growing in transformative behaviors and capabilities. Then, we can support further transformation in others, developing new capabilities and mindsets essential for value creation.
Here are some techniques to promote transformation from inside out and facilitate amicable collaboration:
When our colleagues, people we lead or people who lead us, can vouch that we will deliver what we say we will, when and how we say we will, it builds trust and helps to improve the relationship we have with them. As Jesus taught: “let your yes be yes, and your no be no.” (Matthew 5:37)
A key way to improve our communication is to ensure we are listening actively and with empathy. Empathetic listening means we are not just listening with the end goal of waiting for our turn to speak. As James 1:19 says: it's important to be slow to speak and quick to listen.
Listening with empathy also means deciding to consciously have an open mindset, in order to see things from another person’s perspective. This doesn't necessarily mean you have to agree – it simply means you are creating space to work towards understanding the intentions and objectives behind what others are saying. One way to show you are listening with empathy is to try paraphrasing what the other person said and repeating it back to them.
Great communicators are also excellent question-askers. Jesus was a prime example of both empathetic listening and thoughtful question asking. The Bible records Him asking over 300 questions in the Gospels, starting from childhood
Make a conscious effort to connect with others as a committed team player. Some ideas around getting this done include taking time to find out how your team members are doing. Go beyond routine greetings by asking how they are and how they are getting on with work. When you do this, actively listen to their response. People are more eager to engage with you when they know you care about them and the things that matter to them. As John C. Maxwell aptly puts it “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
For key colleagues in your team, prioritize time to get to know more about them. Semi-formal conversations or lunches are great channels to do this.
Whether you’re starting out or are the resident expert in your career, it’s important to stay relevant and continue to improve your competency. Anticipate future needs at work and be prepared to offer solutions to arising problems. Start by keeping up to date on global and national trends in the industry you work in. Learning is lifelong, so make a commitment to upskilling regularly in your specific area of work. This is a way to deliver your part and show your value.
Cultivate a positive environment with your optimistic attitude. Coworkers will not only notice the results you deliver, but how you deliver in your interactions with them. One question I remember getting asked by a senior leader at a multinational firm I worked in was, “why are you always optimistic?” Our demeanor can be as vital as our delivery in helping set the tone within work spaces.
Another way to cultivate a positive environment is by celebrating people’s milestones, no matter how small. Valuing people and their roles in the workplace is a driver for transformation – it promotes team collaboration and increases productivity. Acknowledge and show appreciation for the work done by colleagues, by giving genuine compliments on tasks performed and results accomplished.
All of these techniques are most effective when we prioritize allowing God to be involved in the transformation process. As important as our individual contributions are in transforming ourselves and our organizations, in the end, it is God who ultimately grows and transforms (1 Corinthians 3:6-7, Psalm 90:17).
We have access to God’s help through His Word and Prayer. God’s Spirit and the scriptures both give us specific instruction and necessary encouragement for the concrete actions we need to take to be agents of change in our workplace.
Curious about growing in prayer so you—and your workplace—can be transformed? Download Ignite: A Simple Guide to Bold Prayer now!
Oyindamola Olusunmade-Odunuga is a French Nigerian living in Paris, France. She works as a Financial Services Professional. She is the convener of @weflourishtribe, an initiative set to empower professional women to live purposeful and successful lives. Oyindamola enjoys traveling and discovering new cultures. She is married to Abiodun. Connect with her on social media at @ms.oyinda.