Don't Be The Beast: A Professional Primer
Disney’s live-action remake of its animated classic Beauty and the Beast is expected to shatter box-office records when it opens on March 17. But what makes this story such a classic? Well, there’s the plucky heroine Belle, willing to risk it all to save her father, and great supporting characters, but in the end the story is about the Beast’s transformation from prince to beast and back again. When the prince is originally cursed to take the form of a beast, the witch tells him he is “spoiled, selfish, and unkind.” We all have our moments where these negative emotions can dominate us, but our habits might blind us to the day-to-day ways we express them. Don’t let your cubicle or office take on the same ominous overtones as the Beast’s lair; practice these tips instead.
Empathy is the ability to not only understand but also share the feelings of another, even if you aren’t in their position. The Beast was unable to feel empathy for the witch stranded out in the cold; with all he needed and wanted around him, he didn’t see any reason for compromise. Whether you’re communicating with a colleague, a superior, or a subordinate about differences of needs or opinion, make sure to keep empathy a priority. Don’t pity them or feel sorry for them, but instead try to put yourself in their shoes, and treat them how you’d want to be treated.
Share and Share Alike
Common areas and shared appliances—like refrigerators and microwaves—are supposed to be shared in practice, but in reality that’s not always the case. The same goes for office supplies, professional resources, even our strengths and talents. Make sure you’re not taking more than your fair share of space or supplies, and when someone asks you for help, lend a hand. One day they’ll be able to return the favor.
One of the keys to being a kind colleague is giving people the benefit of the doubt. Don’t let your suspicions, insecurities, and worries project outward onto your colleagues. Maybe you fear that the whispers around the water cooler are about you, or maybe you’re competing with someone else for a promotion and letting it color your current work. In situations like there, the root of the issue is your own allowing of emotions to get out of control. If you truly feel someone might be doing something professionally unethical, confront them about it calmly and directly, preferably with a supervisor and/or human resources representative present.
If the Beast had followed these pieces of advice, he probably would have never been a Beast to begin with—but luckily through the course of the movie he’s able to change and grow. What do you think is the “beastliest” bad office habit, and how do you keep yourself out of it? Let us know in the comments!