On the face of it being fully ourselves at work is a good thing. A client in HR surprised me recently, “Simon, I don’t want our leaders being fully themselves. They will show their worst traits!”. He has a point. We suppress so much at work that we think after we have had a few drinks our true (ugly) self is let loose. It is as if our professional persona can hide the truth about who we are. But is that a good thing?
In order to improve team performance, managers have to have honest conversations about what’s going on, which can be tricky without offending. Each employee also needs to be comfortable challenging the powers that be and exposing oneself to danger. Teams too often duck the big issues, or opt for informal gossip and politicking thereby making the culture even more toxic.
Humans are utterly amazing, bursting with potential. Human potential is the only limitless resource available to us. Never before has it been more important to fully utilise our collective human potential to solve the challenges we face. Yet tragically, at this critical point in our history, we are using only a small fraction of this precious resource. The data is truly shocking.
Deep down we all know that the path humans are on is unsustainable. We are gobbling up resources and changing the biosphere so fast that geologists have even given our era a new name, the Anthropocene. In this blog I assert that the only way we can shift to a more sustainable future is through consciously moving from a ‘Me’ to a ‘We’ culture.
Last week I facilitated an open event entitled ‘Reinventing Organisations’, which doesn’t sound very sexy does it? Yet it was a sell out. 75 people were motivated enough to buy tickets and schlepp to the city on a cold wet Monday night to participate. So what is it about the ideas within Frederic Laloux’s book ‘Reinventing Organisations’ that is such a draw?
Ok, hold with the cynical laughter. We all know in how many ways that can sound like a stupid question. So please bear with me. If it isn’t intelligent, where is its stupidity located? If it were to become intelligent, where would that happen? If you think that’s about your boss, or your most irritating colleague, I would like to take a deeper look.
As we start a new year, many leaders will have reflected on how to best influence their work culture. One which relies less on them exercising traditional ‘power over’ leadership and shifts towards team empowerment. One where people feel able to innovate, experiment and take appropriate risks. One which retains and attracts the best people or, in my language, a culture with a high ‘We-Q’.
Why is it that the huge increase in money thrown at ‘Happiness at Work’ initiatives over recent years has not stopped employee engagement scores sliding to an historical and shocking low of 13% worldwide? (Gallup 2016) Why are we so unhappy, and what can be done about it?
As founder of We-Q, the Collaborative Intelligence App, I had the pleasure of spending time with Frederic Laloux, author of ‘Reinventing Organisations’, and one of the world’s most influential contributors to the study of healthy and effective organisations. Together we went on a deep dive into the ills and possibilities of contemporary work life.
“ Happiness is a transitory possibility to evoke, which seems radical given the levels of suffering in organisational life today.” Frederic Laloux
Fredric Laloux talks of the need to restore “our birthright” of deep human connection back into the contemporary workplace. The exclusive interview is embedded in this blog and is free to listen to. What then follows is a description of the key themes, their relevance to the contemporary workplace, and their link to the effectiveness of We-Q.
More and more high-achieving, sensitive people I know are burning out. They are suffering a combination of depression, anxiety, eating disorders, addictions, poor relationships and ill health. It’s very painful to hear their stories. These feelings are a healthy and appropriate response to a system out of balance. Our deeper selves are telling us to “Change course”. Yes, but in what direction and how can we keep things going whilst we change?