It’s time for a little homespun philosophy. There is a joke that has been circulating of late on the web:
“If we are put on the earth to help others, what are the others put here for?”
Very amusing I have no doubt, but at the risk of being considered irretrievably anal, perhaps there is a grain of truth there.
If we, that is all of us, are put here to help others the implication is that we alternate between being a helper and being helped.
That is one way to look at it but we could also say that some of us are natural helpers and some of us are naturally helped or are even helpless.
There is growth in the help market these days; community work, volunteering in all its forms, sports clubs, committees, food banks, they all contribute to the helping environment.
Cynics tend to decry these people as do-gooders and what is wrong with that description? Is it not better to do good to someone or something than to do nothing and metaphorically walk on the other side of the street?
It is remarkable that when dreadful things happen some people do just that and don’t want to be involved while others immediately risk life and limb to help.
So perhaps some of us are natural helpers whenever the occasion arises and sometimes when it doesn’t.
The traditional shape of business is that of a triangle with the apex pointing upwards.
At the top resides the leader whose word is law and is handed down to the rough peasantry to do the mater’s bidding.
Theoretically there are layers of management throughout the business but in the end, the direction is handed down from on high and is not for discussion, only for implementation.
There are still many businesses that operate under this format even though it has long been discredited as an authoritarian regime that takes away all initiative from the people.
Ideally, the triangular business model is still appropriate but in this case with the apex pointing downwards.
The top line is the people in the business who interface with the markets and the customers or clients.
At the bottom therefore is the leader whose simple approach is that of support for the whole organisation and the people in it.
The leader’s question should always be:
“What help to you need from me to enable you to do your job even better?
I heard on the radio yesterday a wonderful person who had helped to evolve a set of workable and acceptable rules for an organisation and when asked how he was intending to implement these rules, he said:
“I am just Santa’s little helper. The people will implement them and I will contribute if I’m asked”
Another adage I saw recently said;
“Great leaders appoint great people and then get out of their way” the implication being that they are there to help rather than interfere.
Add to that an overall layer of kindness; of wanting to show the people that they are valued, that they are considered to be competent, that their contribution is essential to the success of the enterprise and that the organisation is not one person but all of us.
The more that the people are offered unencumbered help, the more likely they are to offer it it to others who may also need it, either on a occasional basis but sadly sometimes permanently.
There are some strata of society that will always need to be helped and, thank heaven, there are many people who are happy to take on this responsibility.
It is not a matter for government; it is a matter for those inherently kind and understanding people who are prepared to offer the help to those in real need.
May they go in peace and be enabled to do their work without cynicism or rancour. They are the real team of Santa’s Little Helpers.
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