Welcome to Ayurveda in the Workplace, where we offer tips to help you meld the seemingly conflicting energy of your daily work life and your Ayurveda practice.
As part of the Ayurveda in the Workplace series, nobody else is like you! We are all going to approach work and projects differently. Let's explore how we can work more in harmony with good understandings of each other.
We already know that each of us contains all three doshas—we just have them in unique combinations. So in order for us to function properly, all three are needed. Well, the same goes for our personalities and our different job functions in the workplace.
In the office vatas tend to be: Jibber-jabberers (water cooler anyone?), vibrant, creative, hands-on creators, full of ideas, inspirers, fast, yet inaccurate. They start a lot of projects but tend not to finish them. They often create goals that are far too lofty and then feel bad because they fail to achieve them. They are chronic multitaskers, often causing them to lose their focus as they easily get overwhelmed. But if they use vata-balancing techniques to stay grounded and focused, nothing beats their final creation. People who are said to have “raw talent” are often vatas. They have a magic about the way they move (at the same time, they can be super klutzy), the way they create, and how they share their creations.
To ensure harmony with colleagues or customers, vatas need to: Talk slower and be mindful to use brevity. Listen more. Show up to work and meetings on time (I know you, vatas!). Follow through with commitments. Learn how to see the value in a good critique. Let others talk and share their ideas too. Don’t take on too many projects. And, make small, frequent, attainable goals.
How vatas can be perceived by others: exhuberant, creative, fun, having great ideas, like a “breath of fresh air,” flakey, self-centered, unreliable.
For managers and coworkers of vatas, vatas need: projects broken into simple pieces, someone to highlight what they did well and point out something small they can improve upon. Clear direction, a plan they can stick to, space and time to create, a good proofreader.
In the office pittas tend to be: Strategists, organizers, eyes on the data, analyzers, leaders, quick problem-solvers, quick-witted, joyful, and able to take on a lot of work. Because pittas are the control freaks (no offense! I’m one also) of the group, they have a very hard time delegating. While keeping the workload with them might make them feel more in control, it actually causes excess stress as they hold the weight of the world on their shoulders. Pittas can inadvertently hurt people's feelings because they are very direct and once they have a plan, pittas just want to get things done. When stressed or not getting their way, pitta’s tongue can be very sharp. Under a balanced pitta’s leadership teams thrive and work well together like a well-oiled machine.
To ensure harmony with colleagues or customers, pittas need to: Ask others for input. Remain open to strategies other than their own. Delegate and let go. See the good before they critique. Remember how they influence people (it’s not all just data). Realize they leave an impression. Choose words carefully—they will remember inspiration just as much as a critique. Realize it’s ok not to be perfect in all aspects.
How pittas can be perceived by others: smart, witty, joyful, innovative, risky, bossy, controlling, condescending.
For managers and coworkers of pittas, pittas need: a challenge, a reliable team, direct feedback (or pittas will see you as weak), an organized system, questions answered in a timely manner, consistent updates and follow-through.
In the office kaphas tend to be: Sweet, peacemakers, quiet, in production roles, great listeners, jolly, followers, people-pleasers, team support, strong, slow but reliable, and set in their ways (stubborn). They are very reliable so long as they have a clear plan (thank you, pitta!) to follow. Kaphas are quiet or silent in their communication and will never tell you when they are overloaded. Kaphas do not like change and may be stubborn adopting a new company initiative until others have proved that it works first. Once they are bought in, they will be a happy advocate for life. Because they are people-pleasers, they might over-commit and work hard behind the scenes so as not to disappoint (again, they will never tell you). Kaphas also do not think well on the fly and will need time to come up with ideas to contribute. Kaphas love to be trusted and relied upon. Give them a task list and a due date and the project will get done thoroughly and on time.
To ensure harmony with colleagues or customers, kaphas need to: Proactively communicate project updates to others. Contribute in meetings. Stay open and flexible to adopting new ideas. Realize their strength but be careful not to over-commit. Move a bit quicker than what feels natural, when needed. Stay organized and throw away old work stuff no longer needed.
How kaphas can be perceived by others: sweet, loving, nurturing, a shoulder to lean on, reliable, slow, impossible to move, non-communicative.
For managers and coworkers of kaphas. Kaphas need: a list and a due date (then get out of their way), a kudos or note of appreciation, to be offered a break, gentle delivery of feedback, time to come up with ideas, and space and time to be heard.
All Together, Now!
As far as projects go, the three doshas sound something like this:
Vata: Hey! I have a great idea! Let's do ABC, 123!
Pitta: Those are some good ideas, vata. I especially like ABC best, so we'll choose that one. Now, let's come up with an action plan to execute it and then a system to measure how successful it was. The action plan should be xyz and we need to get it done in 1 month. Kapha, is it possible to get xyz done in 1 month?
Kapha: Yep. Sounds like a great plan, pitta. And, I always love your ideas, vata. Pitta, please give me a to-do list and I'll make sure it gets done.
And it goes a little something like that! Sound familiar? Would love to hear your feedback and comments if this sounds like people you work with. Here's to harmony in the workplace! *clink*