The problem might not be what you think it is.
We need more psychological safety at work. – Yes.
The leader is responsible for ensuring psychological safety. – No.
We need to train our leaders to fix this problem. – No.
Well-being in the workplace is so important. – Yes.
We need to implement a well-being programme. – No.
Our people need to develop more resilience at work. – Oh dear!
We need to find a good resilience training programme. – No, you don’t.
Our experts are not working as a team. – Oh dear!
We need to do some team building games with an (agile) coach. – No, you don’t.
We need our people to engage more at work. – Yes.
We should organise a motivation speaker. – No.
Too many people of our people say there are not included. – Oh dear!
Our leaders need to be more inclusive. – No.
Our leadership teams are not diverse enough. – Oh dear!
We need to find some good diversity training. – No.
Our leaders need to engage more with their people. – Yes.
We need to put them through an “Agile Leadership” training. – No. No. No.
We need to put them through a “Teal” training. – No. No. No.
We need to put them through a “New Work” training. – No. No. No.
Any reader who truly recognises the nature of life in organisations would be able to add to this list ad infinitum.
What does this list illustrate?
What are the problems it highlights?
What is the problem in this kind of thinking? Perhaps, “not-thinking” is a more appropriate term.
First things first … ALL these issues here are extremely important.
This is not in doubt.
A couple of critical points (there are more) …
- It takes a binary perspective on problems. Here’s the problem / There’s the “solution”.
- Organisations are social spaces. It perceives people and relationships in these social spaces as machines to be fixed, as resources to be used … and abused.
- It takes a simplistic perspective on relationships in organisations while failing to recognise their inherent complexity.
- It fails to recognise where training is appropriate and where it is not.
- It glorifies sect-like thinking associated with populist movements.
ALL the problems highlighted here are relational problems. This means, they highlight the lack of quality relationing in the organisation as well as the unhealthy nature of the working environment.
Most of the problems highlighted here relate to an individual’s *feeling* about him/herself in the working environment.
Some of the problems highlighted here indicate a lack of understanding of the issues mentioned.
A brief clarification … this is far too brief … nevertheless important …
Psychological Safety and well-being in the workplace are feelings, felt by individuals in their own unique way. They relate not only to the workplace but to the person’s experiences throughout life, most of which is likely to remain hidden from colleagues.
We develop resilience through our experiences in life. As animals, we all have natural survival traits, some stronger than others. A working environment that requires resilience is exploitative and unhealthy. There are exceptions: emergency services are an obvious one.
Inclusion is a feeling, where a person’s gut asks, “To what extent do I feel included?”
The idea of “an inclusive person” makes no sense.
Diversity describes the existence of difference.
This is a fact.
Nobody needs diversity training or similar.
We do, however, need to learn to recognise and appreciate the value of the natural diversity in our environment … wherever that may be.
Engagement and cooperation are decisions that each person makes in each situation.
There is always a reason for this decision … a reason that they feel in their gut.
Developing leadership skills and competencies is essential for all those who have responsibility for people and a business. How we develop is inevitably individual. Only when we act with the integrity of our BEing can we be “good” leaders.
Pre-designed formulaic programmes are the antithesis of this principle.
So … What can we do? … What do we need to do to overcome these problems?
We Cultivate a Working Environment in which Everybody can Develop and Thrive.
Selected outcomes of such an environment …
ALL the issues here are no longer issues.
The organisation’s results will improve when people feel included, able to contribute, want to engage, want to cooperate.