We've all got some form of baggage that we carry around with us. (I know, straight to the point, no soft intro for this blog...) but it's true. Unchecked 'Baggage' is one of the most common problems effecting teams and workplaces.
Now I know it feels like a long time since we've travelled overseas, but with the announcement of the Australia/NZ travel bubble, I figured it would be fun to play with the travel baggage metaphor...as it's something we can all relate to.
Here are the main types of baggage that appears in teams/workplaces:
Carry-on baggage - the small little things that annoy us - stuff we've done, stuff other people have done to us, that we pretend doesn't really matter that much, because "it's just a small thing", but we still carry the resentment, anger, bitterness around with us and choose to not deal with it. And, because it's often just a little thing, we 'Carry on' because we don't want to rock the boat, and we can just shove it in the overhead compartment and try and forget about it.
(This is the most common form of baggage, and the most important to address, so it doesn't morph into bigger baggage).
Unaddressed Carry on baggage turns into Oversized baggage. This occurs when we make the small things bigger than what they really are. Because we are stewing and ruminating on them, they consume a lot of our head space and mental energy, until it feels too big and overwhelming to deal with, so we just drag it around with us.
Unclaimed Baggage - this is the type of baggage that no-one owns up to. It just goes round and round the conveyer belt, waiting for someone to pick it up, but no-one does. It's always someone else's baggage. That's when you hear "well it's not mine, so I don't have to deal with it" or, "That's Murry's sh*t to deal with, I'm staying out of it". (Except poor Murry doesn't know that it's his sh*t, because nobody has told him, so he doesn't do anything about it either....he just stands there watching it go round and round the belt...)
When the first 3 are in play, we end up with Excess baggage. We all know that excess baggage comes at a cost, not only in dollar amounts, but also to the detriment of staff and the organisation as a whole. The longer it goes on unclaimed, and not dealt with, the worse the situation becomes and suddenly you find yourself in a toxic culture. This type of baggage usually requires a "Heavy" tag, as it takes some heavy lifting from everyone to deal with it.
And lastly, we have Unattended Baggage - stuff that's just left lying around the organisation for everyone to see, and they walk past or over it, until someone finally calls it out, and the bomb squad come in to clear the area and deal with it. (Commonly referred to as a Restructure - because by that stage it's just 'easier' to get rid of the people that we think left the baggage unattended, so we can carry-on)
Identifying and lifting the lid on your baggage is a critical part of ensuring our teams can continue to work at their best. This means being open and honest about the unwanted baggage in your teams and organisations, and giving your people the tools, skills and space to be able to address it, talk about it, and unpack it, in a safe environment, so it doesn't feel like they are being taken into a side room at customs involving a rubber glove.
What baggage in your organisation needs a 'Priority' tag on it?
When you've worked that out, if you need some help with lifting the lid, and unpacking what's inside, I'd love to help. Or, if you would just like to chat about what those steps look like, I'd love to hear from you.