Humanizing Workplace Relationships

 

 

“For me, my role is about unleashing what people already have inside them that are maybe suppressed in most work environment.” Tony Hseih, Zappos CEO

I believe there is a central issue at the heart of so much difficulty in today’s workplace – our inability to regularly connect at the human to human level.  To be sure, the structure of the “modern” organization creates serious roadblocks and even undermines empathy, trust and genuine collaboration between co-workers.   There is a decaying legacy of hierarchical control models that were never designed to optimize human dynamics.  We need a critical conversation that engages organizational leaders and their employees if we are to ever achieve trust and authentic engagement. 

Is the “modern” workplace designed for people?

Are the systems created for work designed to maximize productivity and profit or human well-being?

Who factors in the real cost of human labor when analyzing productivity and profits?

What do most managers believe they are managing?  

I have far more questions than I have answers on this topic. In fact, I think we’re now on new terrain when it comes to redefining the meaning of work in a global “supply chain” world.  While it may seem absurd that in one part of the world children are still working in coal mines; while in another, companies like Google have installed, “Chief Culture Officers,” – this is the new “normal.” Continue reading

Opening the “Heart” in Workplace Relationships

heart at work

We seek self-expression through our work and for many people, work is meaningful and satisfying.  But let’s face it – most of us have to work to make money. And while meaning may be a moot point for the majority of working people – how we think about our work and how we relate to the people we work with – has a great deal to do with how we go about achieving results.

Many clients I work with think 10-12 hours engagement with a job is average. They believe that’s the norm if you factor in the amount of time you are available for work related contact, if not actively doing other types of tasks. No amount of productivity seems enough.

Overlay these long work hours with all of the demands and pressures including constant technological changes and chronic uncertainty about the future of work  and you have a formula for intense stress, isolation, and disengagement.

In the process it’s easy to overlook the critical role of human interaction and interpersonal relationships in the workplace. Continue reading