My wife is attending a master degree program at a university here in Norway; she has an exam coming up with the topic: Understanding. Very well, she study Nordic literature and the topic got nothing to do with leadership or any other similar topic in this blog. I will not start to write about Norwegian syntax or analyze some Swedish poet, which is my wife’s domain. But the word “understanding” was very interesting. What is “understanding” when we put it in the work sphere?
un?der?stand?ing – According to dictionary.com
??n d?r?stæn d?? Spelled Pronunciation [uhn-der-stan-ding]
- mental process of a person who comprehends; comprehension; personal interpretation: My understanding of the word does not agree with yours.
- intellectual faculties; intelligence; mind: a quick understanding.
- superior power of discernment; enlightened intelligence: With her keen understanding she should have become a leader.
- knowledge of or familiarity with a particular thing; skill in dealing with or handling something: an understanding of accounting practice.
- a state of cooperative or mutually tolerant relations between people: To him, understanding and goodwill were the supreme virtues.
- a mutual agreement, esp. of a private, unannounced, or tacit kind: They had an understanding about who would do the dishes.
- an agreement regulating joint activity or settling differences, often informal or preliminary in character: After hours of negotiation, no understanding on a new contract was reached.
a. the power of abstract thought; logical power.
b. Kantianism. the mental faculty resolving the sensory manifold into the transcendental unity of apperception.
- characterized by understanding; prompted by, based on, or demonstrating comprehension, intelligence, discernment, empathy, or the like: an understanding attitude.
So how can we understand what is going on at the office?
Including employees will help them understand what is going on. But understanding your work is not enough, you should also understand your company. Why is it doing business? How can we all tribute to the good of the results? If you work at a large company it might be hard to look at the big picture and you might end up defending your little patch of office routines, while others are trying to make some changes around the office. If you understand why and how the company runs you might also understand more of the logic within the tasks you accomplish on a regular basis and you might find meaning in your work. As an employee you should be genuine interested in the well being of your company as this might bring a new understanding and motivation to why you are doing your job in the first place. When you meet a man with a sledgehammer he might be crushing stone, or he might be building a cathedral. Do you want to crush stone or build a cathedral?