This is funny, even though it is so very sad.
Is this just a man thing, or what? I don’t mean to be sexist, but there is definitely a theme with many men – some women, too, but the vast majority are men – that explains why there is so much stress, anxiety and depression in workplaces that inhibits productivity. Business = Money…period. The conversation ends when human feeling, emotion, or value is brought up.
Why is this funny? Obviously, there would be no business or work without people. Money is part of the definition of business. Everybody knows that. Human beings start businesses as a means to make money. Business is a human endeavour by humans to provide goods and services to other humans, employing more humans to make it all work. Humans aren’t money. You would not be able to be in business without other people. Your business depends upon their well-being. Hello!
Why is it sad? There is no humanity in the equation. Everyone wants to be valued, to be heard, to use their innate strengths, and to feel good about who they are and what they contribute…masters of their own domains. No one knows this more than entrepreneurs who start businesses because they were undervalued and dehumanized in previous workplaces. Can you see the sad and destructive pattern that continues with this equation?
Business and work are part of life, not separate from it.
The old, traditional model is slipping into the past.
Yes, that parochial view of work and productivity is shifting gears to a different, more human approach. To reiterate a point made earlier, there is a sad and destructive pattern to entrepreneurship that can be broken, by treating employees the way you would like to be treated. Google Spent 2 Years Studying 180 Teams. The Most Successful Ones Shared These 5 Traits.
It doesn’t matter if you have a team of one, five, twenty or one hundred, point number 5 from the above article stood out.
5. Psychological Safety.
We’ve all been in meetings and, due to the fear of seeming incompetent, have held back questions or ideas. I get it. It’s unnerving to feel like you’re in an environment where everything you do or say is under a microscope.
But imagine a different setting. A situation in which everyone is safe to take risks, voice their opinions, and ask judgment-free questions. A culture where managers provide air cover and create safe zones so employees can let down their guard. That’s psychological safety.
The cost of dehumanizing the workplace
Depression and anxiety cost the Canadian economy almost $50 Billion a year, according to this CBC article. That is up from $33 Billion in 2007. Consider, if you will, how the workplace can have an effect on depression and anxiety.
Imagine – or remember – what it is like to be in a stressful workplace. What caused the stress for you? The Hidden Costs of Doing Nothing to Promote Workplace Health includes bullying, fatigue, lack of attention to work-life balance and job strain, to name a few. Is it the work itself, or the environment that has the greatest impact on elevating stress?
Making the transition
You are busy. You have a lot of responsibility. You are growing your business. You are the visionary, bringing your ideas into tangible reality. You are always moving forward, jumping on the next opportunity. You are a go-getter. Do you ever slow down long enough to find out from your employees what this is doing to them? Do you ever ask them if the systems are working, if they have the resources they need, or if they have any ideas to contribute?
Your team is your greatest asset. They aren’t you. They don’t have ownership. They have a job to earn money to have a good life. Talk to them. Listen to them. Be open to what they have to say. Don’t be ‘that’ boss, or you’ll lose them.
It doesn’t take a kumbaya session around a campfire to connect with your team and the inner workings of your work environment. They are there to work and they know what is important to the smooth functioning of their jobs and their workplace. Working with you rather than for you goes a long way towards higher productivity and lower stress.