I love babies. Ever since I was a kid, I have been drawn to little ones who have so much potential. Even now, when I see a baby, I move in close, look her in the eyes, smile, and talk with a caring tone. “Hi there, it is so good to see you. You are such a beautiful little person.” Most of the time, I’m greeted back with bright eyes and a smile. It is refreshing to get captured in this peaceful moment. It is a moment of innocence, joy, and curiosity that radiates from this baby.
Interestingly, in work settings, I have heard the term “babies” used to describe the young new people on the team or in the organization.
“You’re just a baby.”
We are obviously talking about the newbies, rookies, or beginners. Yet, when the term “baby” is used, there is often an undertone of nuisance or burden. Why is this? Have we become so self-focused that we have lost sight of the value of young people? Thus, we reject, disregard, and leave them to fend for themselves.
Whether you have hired (by choice) or inherited (by circumstances) a young person, there is another answer, which I know many of you uphold. As inspirational influencers, our proper response to the “babies” is to embrace, nurture, and stretch them. I am going to focus on the word embrace the rest of this blog. I will come back to nurture and stretch in future posts.
There are two definitions of embrace. The first is an act of holding someone closely in one’s arms. It’s a hug. A second definition is an act of accepting or supporting something or someone willingly or enthusiastically. When these two definitions are put together, there is a beautiful image of enthusiastically and intentionally drawing close to someone and willingly supporting them. There are three valuable attributes that we can embrace in young people: innocence, joy, and curiosity.
Innocence is the lack of mental and emotional baggage that accumulates from being hurt or failing. This new person has not been hurt nor has failed within the context of your organization. Thus, if this innocence is embraced, there is the opportunity to get fresh perspectives.
Joy is a feeling of pleasure or happiness. Most young people coming into the world of a new job express great joy and we celebrate with them. These “babies” bring with them new energy. When embraced, that new energy can rejuvenate the “old timers.”
Finally, we can embrace the curiosity of young people. With babies, everything is new. There is a natural curiosity that motivates exploration, learning, and discovery. This curiosity is an eager wonder. Imagine grasping onto the eager wonder of the “babies” in your organization by asking questions that stimulate more curiosity and listening well to learn something new yourself.
There are beautiful new people within your influence who desire to be embraced. Put a metaphorical hug around the innocence, joy, and curiosity of these “babies!”