Our Head of Engagement, Katie McKenna, writes about what we can do to show we value and respect the people around us.

One of my colleagues, the incomparable Katie Wood, recently introduced me to 'Sawubona' which  is a greeting used in South Africa which translates  to 'I see you' - in other words 'I respect you, I value you, you are important to me'. It’s one of the nicest things you can say to someone.

The greeting is based on the concept of Ubuntu 'I am who I am, because of who we all are'.

I hope you join me in taking a second to appreciate how truly beautiful this philosophy is and how it reaffirms the necessity of essential human virtues of humanity and compassion in daily life.

Now, I don’t expect solicitors and paralegals across Scotland to start saying 'Sawubona' as a matter of course but I would encourage our members to take a moment to think about how they can incorporate this philosophy into daily life to the benefit of your own wellbeing and that of those around you.

'How can I do that?' I hear you cry! Here is a starter for ten. You can start with hello. It worked for Lionel Richie and it can work for you too. It’s such a simple thing but it does have the power to change the trajectory of someone’s day. Definitely use the name of the person if you know it and if you don’t, make a conscious effort to find out. Feeling acknowledged in the workplace can work wonders on how a person feels and can improve productivity.

The next step? How about asking people in your office or organisations how they are? whether they enjoyed the weekend? Or had a good holiday? It opens up a conversation, puts people at ease and provides the opportunity for you to get to know the individual behind the cleaner, receptionist, solicitor or NQ. This approach acknowledges that they are an individual with feelings, passions outside law (WHAT?!) and a life out with the office.

Ready for the advanced class? Let’s start with a little reflection.  When was the last time you properly thanked someone? Think of all the tasks completed in a day by yourself and others within your firm or organisation. There is a huge amount of expectation and demand from various sources. Take a moment to truly thank a person for their contribution to a project or congratulate them on a job well done.  This will help those around you feel valued and respected.

It is so rare for individuals in the legal profession to be seen as anything other than their job title. Let’s start seeing one another for the beautiful, complex and vastly limitless individuals we are.

For more resources on looking after your own mental health that that of those around you, please take time to refer to Lawscot Wellbeing on our website.

Lawscot Wellbeing

Leading emotional wellbeing for Scottish solicitors and their employees across Scotland, England and Wales and beyond.