Quality in the Workplace: Can you care too much?
The Quality of Caring
Caring too much
In our previous blog we provided an example of how quality of work can be attained thanks to a caring attitude of mind evidenced through thorough planning, relating sensitively to others, attention to detail and a pride and joy in what you do.
There is, however, a pre-condition: it is important that you are in a sufficiently healthy state both mentally and physically: caring about your work has to be balanced against caring for yourself and your own well-being if you are to navigate through the highs and lows of the workplace and sustain good quality.
As coaches, we often see how challenging it can be to arrive at such a balance for complex reasons that we will seek to unravel over the blogs to come. As a starting point, we would like to address the risk of caring too much. There are certain warning signs to look out for.
- Never switching off
You seem endlessly to think and worry about work and, in particular, about what is not going well. You may feel so responsible and accountable that you work long hours over time and still feel you are not keeping up.
- Becoming too involved
You may ruminate about issues you are having with colleagues in seemingly endless circles, or you carry the burden of those you are trying to support through your work so intensely that you feel overwhelmed.
- Insisting on perfection
You may have a task to complete and are unwilling to let go, endlessly tweaking, adding and adjusting to it while feeling dissatisfied with the results. You may feel that your work will never be good enough.
Nearly everyone in the workplace falls into some of these patterns at peak moments in the year, for example, or at times of crisis. Indeed, it is what helps us keep going through difficult periods. Caring too much can become debilitating, however, when protracted without any respite in sight.
Adverse effects such as restlessness, poor concentration, lack of sleep, fatigue, insufficient exercise, irregular eating habits, stress, anxiety and depression can be the outcome. You may be irritable with colleagues or hold them up, putting a strain on how you work together. At the same time, relationships outside the workplace may suffer as you miss out on time spent with family, friends and other people who are important to you. All of this can have a damaging impact on quality, leading you to be less focused and motivated and liable to make flawed decisions.
When such a spiral of adverse effects is beginning to take hold, it is invaluable to acknowledge the signs, step back and reflect, exploring what practical steps you might take to arrive at a more healthy approach to work. Coaching can provide a safe space for you to do this.