Even with all the talk about Emotional Intelligence in the workplace, resentment is still running rampant in our organizations. We’ve learned the vocabulary, gone to the seminars, read the books, yet awareness and appropriate expression of emotions still eludes many of us. I am fortunate enough to talk to lots of professionals around the world, in different industries and at all levels, and there are common themes expressed by all of them. Trust is at frighteningly low level, poor communication is a common issue, and interpersonal relationships are broken.
Given all this, it shouldn’t surprise us that our organizations are struggling. We’ve lost sight that our companies are made up of people – with all the complicated and marvelous traits that make us human beings. We dehumanize the workplace when we talk about ‘the staff’ or ‘the front-line workers’ and miss out on the opportunity to harness the power of people and their unique gifts and talents. We’re too busy putting on our own armor to show up and be who we are, much less take the time to notice what is happening with those around us. Survival at any cost is the tagline for far too many.
Show me a company that is experiencing phenomenal success and I’m willing to bet you’ll find a group of motivated and highly engaged people all working toward a common vision and purpose. They work together and not against or in competition with each other. They trust one another. They “get” that making mistakes is just part of progress. They encourage authenticity and vulnerability. They treat one another with compassion and respect. They care about each other and acts of kindness and forgiveness are common. They aren’t watching the clock or ‘phoning it in’, but are excited to be there.
Sound familiar? Or is this the kind of environment and culture you wish you had, but know you don’t. It’s easy to fall back on ‘that’s just the way it is’, but the way it is isn’t the way it has to be. The choices we make every day can either reinforce what we have, or we can begin to create something new. That’s how real change happens; one individual decision at a time. Edicts from above or mandated training programs may give people information, but they, alone, aren’t likely to change behavior - and behavior is at the heart of it. People believe what they see, not what you tell them. It’s not just the what you do, but the how you do it that will make the difference - the old adage, ‘don’t just talk the talk, but walk the walk’.
The choice is yours. As Gandhi famously said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”Who’s going to argue with Gandhi!? Go out and make your company and the world better – one decision at a time. Choose to be kind, generous, and compassionate. Choose to forgive and to show up, expressing yourself as you truly are. We need you and who you are is enough.