No man is an island – You should never eat your lunch alone 1(4) | TENTIO
Ines Basta Ines Basta
Published 2 weeks ago • Approximate 3 minutes

No man is an island – You should never eat your lunch alone 1(4)

The phrase ‘no man is an island’ expressed the idea that human beings do badly when isolated from others and need to be part of community in order to thrive. This is a quotation from the English metaphysical poet John Donne (1572-1631).

Many years later, Keith Ferrazzi wrote the New York Times bestselling book Never Eat Alone where, among other things, he mentioned the quote from Meg Wheatley: “Relationships are all there is.

Everything in the universe only exists because it is in relationship to everything else. Nothing exists in isolation. We have to stop pretending we are individuals that can do it alone.” Keith emphasizes throughout his book how important relationships really are: “To achieve your goals in life, I realized, it matters less how smart you are, how much innate talent you’re born with, or even, most eye-opening to me, where you came from and how much you started out with. Sure, all these are important, but they mean little if you don’t understand one thing: You can’t get there alone. In fact, you can’t get very far at all.”

I have been working in different setups for many years. Sometimes I was a team leader, other times department manager – I might as well be a regular employee. Wherever I moved, whatever I worked with I would always come to the same conclusion: I loved to go to my work if I was sitting in office where I connected with other people. They could be 25 years older than me (that was so funny! By the way – never underestimate knowledge and experience of seniors, they are extremely valuable. Not to mention their humor) or just finished college. Just by knowing that if I should come to work late or to a meeting with an important client – my colleagues would do everything to cover for me and make the person happy until I would arrive. Yes, I would sometimes oversleep the first part of the meeting, but hey, life happens.

Many full-time employees spend more of their waking hours with co-workers than they do with their spouses. With this in view, it becomes clear why it is very important for everyone to build quality relationships with their colleagues.

So, next time when your team member comes to your desk and wants to chat about their weekend or situation at work – try to listen, instead of replying quickly: “Glad to hear it, I need to go back to work”. If you get invited to lunch and you are just about to say: “Next time, I have such a tough deadline”, think again and accept the invitation. Declining is a step that pushes you away from building trustworthy relationships that will be rewarding for you and your colleagues, as well as for the company: it can improve your teamwork, employee morale and maximize employee retention rates.

It is just good for everyone – therefore, try to begin investing time, energy and effort into getting to know your colleagues better.

/ Ines Basta, Coach TENTIO

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