So, flying home from Bremen on Wednesday evening, I single-handedly managed to prevent Ryanair from playing their 'we've arrived on time' fanfare. All I did was not point out someone's mistake as I walked through the gate to board the plane - they didn't remove the slip at the bottom of my boarding card so when we sat on the plane there was one more passenger than they could account for.
Give them their due, they put out a tannoy announcement for 'Mrshsshsmmischthh to press the call bell' - listened more carefully and they asked for Mrs Smith so I ignored it (no its not just my hearing, the guy next to me also thought it was a female they were looking for).
Eventually, everyone had to rummage in their bags and produce their boarding cards so that they could weed me out, give me a telling off and then we were on our way, 15 minutes late.
Should I have corrected the man at the gate? Maybe but different airlines at different airports have different ways of dealing with similar situations. Should I have spoken up earlier on the plane? Maybe, but I didn't.
It did make me wonder though, how often do we go out of our way to help other people do their jobs even better? Sometimes we are keen to correct our colleagues when they get it wrong but its not just about that. How can we help our colleagues work more effectively, more easily, enjoy themselves more or whatever.? But maybe more tellingly, how much are we willing to put in the extra effort on their behalf?
Yesterday, I was running a children's abseiling session with a colleague at an outdoor centre. When she started to vomit off the crag, I realised I needed to try to do everything possible to make her job easier - would I have been so supportive and helpful if the particular scenario had not arisen?
What inspires us to work more closely with our colleagues? Is it because we want to help them to enjoy life, to help the company be more successful or to help ourselves inhabit a more harmonious workplace? What are your thoughts?
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Nick has been writing for mass consumption ever since he was sending newsletters home from the Philippines 20+ years ago. He has carried on putting finger to keyboard, branching out into magazines, manuals and recently submitting lots of words for books. He has always aimed to be entertaining but at the same time challenging. If you like something, feel free to pass it on to someone else, but if you are challenged by it then even better - write a comment, start a debate, add to the fun.