Bringing humanity back to work – In the short term
BHBW is both a short term need and a long term requirement…
Part 1: Short term: reconnecting to our hearts, to each other and to our purpose
Post Covid, mid the great resignation, edging into recession, the world of work can be a scary place for many right now. With exceptions for front line services under enormous pressure, Humans and Humanity were removed from the workplace during our several lockdowns. Although many of us may have found solace in the comforts of home work and new neighbourliness, many others experienced alienation, isolation, anxiety, despair, reduced income and / or termination.
So as most of us humans come back to work, how do we make sure humanity does too?
Leaders do their own work first
The first step is to remind ourselves of our own humanity – by connecting with the power of our own hearts. If we feel disconnected inside, we will almost certainly be disconnected outside. So the first step is a personal audit – that acknowledges and does not try to sweep under the carpet, the dark times or moods most of us suffered at some point during the pandemic. It was a collective trauma, and if we were not struck by personal losses or ‘intimations of mortality’, there will almost certainly have been those around us who were – and whose trauma we passively ingested, much like the dangers of ‘passive smoking’ of old.
The result of this, for most, is a ‘de-sensitising’, like battle worn soldiers who forget the beauty and the joy of life. We need to therefore ‘re-sensitise’ ourselves, to remind ourselves of the joy of being alive. We can each find our own preferred means for reconnecting to our deeper selves, which will often involve prioritising those things, places and activities that make us feel alive or full of joy. Have you allowed yourself to be ‘appropriately selfish’ and put your own needs for joy, at least occasionally, above the outer calls for duty?
The second step is to find others at work with whom we have had or could have connection, comradeship or even friendship. What brings you together and what can you achieve together that makes you as a pair or a group more than ‘the sum of the parts’? Look for the people at work with whom you feel you can be most yourself. And those where you bring out the best in each other. Cultivate these connections and let those others know you value them. And, not least, have you found time to have fun back at work yet? If not, how and when could you do this?
Working ‘on purpose’
The third step is to check that you are still living your working life ‘on purpose’ – rather than ‘by accident’. What inspires you about your job and /or your organisation. Has it changed over the last few years, or have you moved jobs to find one that gives you more meaning? Are you in your job for the paycheck, or is their joy in it for you? As the American Sociologist and author, Studs Terkel, wrote in the preface of his book ‘Working’ – after 10 years research talking to workers all over the US:
“Work is about a search for daily meaning as well as daily bread,
for recognition as well as cash, for astonishment rather than boredom,
In short, for a sort of life – rather than a Monday to Friday sort of dying…”
It is time to remember we are Human Beings and not merely Human Doings. And human being require purpose to be truly content in their work.
It may take a while, but if you can connect to your own heart, build deeper reconnections with others AND feel inspired by a worthy purpose you are contributing to, you will bring your humanity to work – you won’t be able to stop yourself!
Olivier Mythodrama has been delivering innovative and thought provoking leadership training for over 20 years. The people and organisations we have worked with describe our training as life changing. We think they’re right. We already work with some of the world’s leading businesses. Are you ready to join them?