Though the quote “be the change you want to see in the world” has been a bit overused, it remains a good piece of advice. It rings especially true for anyone who wants to see positive changes in their workplace or community.
by Sriram Iyer, Founder & CEO, hrtech
If you want to make an impact in your immediate community or in your place of work, here are a few things you should be doing:
1. Sharpen Your Skills
Whether you're running for public office or spearheading an innovative new project at work, chances are, you’ll find short courses that could help you take things further and faster than you thought possible.
In Singapore, you’ll find SkillsFuture funded courses that are useful for a range of workplace and neighbourhood initiatives. While the specific subjects may change, you’ll always find SkillsFuture short courses covering a range of business, electronics & infocomm technology, and design & media topics.
These short courses can help you learn more about business management, organisation, and communication, all of which can help you make a bigger impact, whatever your project or advocacy may be.
2. Practice Empathy
If you want to make a difference in the workplace or the wider community, having support from stakeholders can make things much easier for you. To earn everyone else’s willing support, you’ll need empathy to understand their perspective and what they are likely to feel in a given situation.
Being able to practice empathy allows you to connect with colleagues and members of your community on a deeper level. It also makes it possible to anticipate their needs while giving you a clearer understanding of your own motivations and biases. All these benefits can be crucial in earning the buy-in of your workmates and fellow community members.
3. Share Knowledge
Sharing your knowledge and experience to those who need it is another way you can make a positive impact wherever you are. This is especially true of workplaces. If you’re a veteran professional, chances are, your experience can be valuable to people who are just getting started in your industry. Your guidance can help mentees see and avoid the pitfalls of the job while also helping accelerate their progress through their respective career ladders.
The same principle also works in communities. Chances are, there are people in your neighbourhood who can directly benefit from your specific knowledge and experience. Making your professional knowledge to them will not only help spread positivity, but it can also make you an investor in their success.
4. Have Real Conversations with Different People
Just because two people live in the same community or work in the same workplace, it does not mean that they share the same perspectives, values, or priorities. Taking the time to have a chat or grab a coffee with neighbours and coworkers can help you gain a nuanced understanding of the issues faced by the workplace or the community at large.
Talking to people also makes it possible to share your advocacy in an organic and friendly way. Making the conversation go both ways is typically a better approach to gathering support than simply lecturing at others. Thus, making the time to truly converse with different people also makes it possible to build and maintain lasting relationships, which is important if you want to maintain lasting support for an initiative that you’re spearheading.
5. Emphasize Actions over Words
While modern technology has made a lot of things possible, it has also made most forms of communication less meaningful. Words are cheaper than they’ve ever been, and the ratio of emails and social media chatter compared to actual positive actions is woefully lopsided.
What we may not always realize, however, is that we also communicate through our own actions. Whether it’s by volunteering to take the lead at a work project or giving you free time to help with a neighbourhood initiative, the act of choosing to do something in the real world creates an impact that resonates with others.
6. Attend Meetings
It may not always feel like it, but your presence at meetings matters. Sure, it might sometimes feel like an email might get the job done quicker. However, there is much to be said about having a physical presence when you raise concerns or deliver your message.
Attending meetings signals a direct interest in the affairs of your workplace or neighbourhood. It also helps you be seen as part of the team or the community. Most importantly, attending meetings usually offers you the opportunity to take the floor to ask important questions or speak up about pressing issues.
7. Make It a Point to Support Others
Your efforts shouldn’t just be about you. Supporting people in your community and workplace in their own projects, advocacies, and businesses is, perhaps, the best and easiest way to make a positive difference.
By supporting others in their endeavours, you make it much more likely that they will support yours as well. Giving other people your support also opens up the possibility that you can work together to create positive changes in the future.
These are just some of the ways you can make a change in your workplace or the wider community. Being the change that you want to see remains solid advice, whatever the context is. To make this happen, it’s important to keep your skill sets relevant and up to date while also exhausting all opportunities to contribute to the betterment of your co-workers and neighbours.
About the author :
Sriram Iyer is a Human Resources practitioner with around two decades of experience in the areas of HR Technology, Workforce Planning & Strategy, Talent Supply Chain, Employee Engagement, Talent Branding and Acquisition & Client Management. Based in Singapore since Jan 2012, he has strong exposure to the JAPAC region and has a knowledge of the cultural nuances of the region. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, he has also played leadership roles with NCS (Singtel Group Enterprise) and Nasdaq-listed Cognizant Technology Solutions in Singapore, running large scale talent initiatives across regions. He is a proud alumnus of National University of Singapore (Singapore) and Symbiosis Institute of International Business (India).