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From Playground to Boardroom: Lessons from Kids for Workplace Success

Think back to those days of childhood, when a simple game of hide and seek could transport us away to a realm of fun and excitement. As kids, we’d gather in the neighborhood, eager to play without a care in the world. “We’ll hide, you’ll catch us and say caught, when you do,” were the only rules, with no designated leader but still managing to organize ourselves effortlessly. In the midst of the game, there were conflicts, surely. But we, as the little champions of coordination and creativity, knew just how to resolve them with ease – by communicating with or without words, adapting to changing rules on the fly, and above all, reveling in the pure joy of the game.

Those days, we toted around a whole bag of skills—stuff like teamwork, bouncing back from setbacks, staying curious, and more—that we didn’t even realize we had as kids. Those skills still teach us a thing or two, even in today’s demanding corporate world. So, let’s take a moment to think back on those awesome memories and all the smart lessons they taught us. Because in the hustle and bustle of the work, it’s not just about scoring wins or missing hits. It’s about injecting that same spark, vitality, and sense of fun we had as kids into our professional journey.

Lessons From Kids For Work:

1. Let Me Try Again!

Recall those good old days at the beach, building sandcastles with boundless creativity, only to watch them wash away with the tide? Or the countless times we hit restart in video games after losing, fueled by our unwavering enthusiasm? That resilience we effortlessly displayed as kids. It’s a quality that could serve us well in the workplace.

When faced with setbacks, resilient employees don’t let it knock them down. Instead, they bounce back stronger, maintaining a positive attitude even under pressure. But how can employees bring that childhood resilience once again into their work lives? Simple – Proactively connect with managers to add regular resilience check-ins and evaluations to wellness programs or performance reviews. That way, employees can track their progress, pinpoint areas to improve, and build that essential trait all needs to thrive in today’s world.

2. Let’s Do Something New!

Remember those evenings, we stepped onto a new playground, feeling the rush of adrenaline! That pure anticipation, itching to try every new swing, slides, and games—made us lose track of time as we happily played away. From carefree exploration to fearless embracement of new experiences, each moment was an adventure in itself. That same fearless spirit we had as kids is now a necessity for the corporate playgrounds. When employees embrace innovation, they channel the same adventurous energy as those kids, eagerly seeking out new solutions and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible.

And encouraging a culture of experimentation requires employees to spend some of their time on creative projects or new ideas. To do this, employees can engage in bi-weekly brainstorming sessions to come up with new ideas, improve solutions and celebrate both successful and unsuccessful attempts at innovation, to reinforce everyone’s ability to not only listen to ideas but also share their own, making this trait a core part of the team.

3. Let’s Play It Like This, Not Like That

During childhood, every game had a defined set of rules, like a SOP for us to follow. But think back to those moments when someone suddenly changed the rules. We’d pause, maybe question it with a “Hey, weren’t we playing it like this?” But without much fuss, we’d adapt seamlessly, continuing the game without skipping a beat. As kids, we effortlessly embraced change as part of the fun, thanks to our adaptable nature. Now, that same adaptability is the superpower expected from every employee in our workplaces. In today’s rapidly evolving work environment, where scenarios can shift in the blink of an eye, our ability to adjust to new challenges is what sets us up for success and keeps organizations ahead of the curve.

Ensuring an employee fosters an adaptable mindset requires their willingness to volunteer to learn new skills or take on responsibilities outside their usual role through cross-training. They can propose shadowing colleagues from different departments or teams to gain exposure to diverse workflows and perspectives, learning how to stay steady while adapting to changes, ensuring this key lesson is imbibed.

4. Let’s Work Together!

In the golden days of our childhood, many of us embarked on a mission: building forts out of blankets and pillows with our dearest friends. Each of us had a role to play—one held the pillows, another arranged the blankets, while someone else ensured the structure stood steady. We coordinated like a well-oiled machine. Effective teamwork is crucial for achieving common goals in the workplace, showing that employees who work well together are more productive, creative, and satisfied with their jobs, making them top performers among others.

Fostering this trait might seem simple, like just working together, but it demands every employee to take the initiative to build positive bonds with teammates. This involves getting to know them on a personal level, showing empathy and understanding, and finding common ground. By investing time in team-building activities, such as lunch outings, outbound workshops, or virtual hangouts, they can strengthen their bonds and foster camaraderie, building the fort of real relationships.

5. Let’s Forget It & Stand Up!

Remember that one Best Friend from our childhood, who always had our back whenever we fell off a bike, tripped on a step, or stumbled while running? They were the friends who offered comforting words, listened intently, and helped us get back on our feet, showing genuine care and empathy. A timeless quality that’s just as important now as it was back then, especially in today’s AI-driven era. Empathetic employees not only grasp their colleagues’ perspectives but also nurture stronger bonds and skillfully resolve conflicts, making them the standout choice for companies and leadership roles.

However, developing empathy is a journey that requires self-awareness, practice, and a desire to connect with others. Through perspective-taking exercises, employees can take a moment to imagine self in the other person’s position and consider how they would feel or react in their situation. This helps understand emotions, motivations, and challenges, fostering compassion, and becoming aware of how their thoughts influence their interactions with others.

The journey at work is meant to become more complex and advanced, varying for everyone regardless of their role, hierarchy, or gender. And every employee here aims to climb the career ladder – all for a fulfilling job, stable income, growth opportunities, and satisfaction. To ensure they ascend correctly, individuals must learn from every course, workshop, training session, and even from their past experiences of being a kid.

While the traits mentioned above may seem commonplace, as employees often hear about them daily for better growth at work; reflecting on how they themselves embodied these qualities during childhood, can offer a fresh perspective. It reminds individuals of the innate abilities they once possessed, which may have diminished over time but can be easily rekindled with introspection, analysis, and deliberate application.

If you’re interested in delving deeper into learning such traits or enhancing these soft skills, our experts are just a consultation away. Book your session today at inquiry@namanhr.com!

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