If you have read any of my posts so far, you probably already know that I am not referring to someone that works with harsh chemicals, or explosives. (Although that is dangerous!)
I am instead referring to a whole new level of danger. One that many of us probably do not think about on a day to day basis, and yet, experience it on some level all the time without even realizing that is as dangerous as I am making it out to be. So – what could this danger be?
I am talking about work safety. Not the kind where you need to make sure you wear your protective eyewear, but more so of the dangers of working with others.
There are plenty of moments where we can feel isolated, humiliated, pressured, insecure, on guard, rejected and of course, stressed. We all feel these from time to time, but where those come from are not exactly a mystery – at least not anymore. You might be surprised if I pointed out the obvious, which is that these feelings all come from our inner workplace. (Strange way of saying that isn’t it?) I say inner because the company we work for has two forces. There is the inner, as just mentioned, and the outer. The outer is everything that happens to a company. Sales, stock market changes, new technology, weather and everything else you can think of. Inner, however, is all about what happens inside the company. New employees, old employees retiring or quitting, policy changes, wages, politics, and the list goes on.
So what is so dangerous about the inner workplace? Sadly, a lot of our negative experiences come from the people we work with. It’s not the task at hand that makes us feel nervous or scared. It’s what will happen if we miss the deadline or don’t perform. Even then, what will happen is the consequence, but it’s coming from a person we work with or for. All those harsh realities come from the people we have to look up to, to figure if we did a good job this time or not. If there is a lack of trust between the leaders of the company and those doing the work, then these negative aspects are magnified 10 fold.
How do we then turn this into a positive vibe where everyone can feel like they are valued and trusted? I am glad you asked.
Leaders that really want to lead instead of boss people around, should really start thinking about how they can protect the people they work with. Anyone can bark orders and push people around and feel like they are king of the castle (or queen!), but a real leader is one that takes themselves out of the equation and looks at everyone they are responsible for and figures out a way to make them feel accepted and appreciated.
When we don’t take care of the people in out circle, those that we are responsible for, we force the employees to migrate into smaller huddles. They will gravitate to people who they see eye-to-eye with and stay there because there is always that feeling of safety in numbers. No one wants to feel alone, especially when their job is on the line. Their work output will suffer and their fears will multiply. Animosity will grow towards the person or people that made them feel this way, and before you know it, they have either walked out the door or done something to make the company suffer as a form of payback. The crummy part is that employee was probably worth keeping around – bit now it is too late.
Employees need a sense of belonging. They need to know that they are cared for, no matter what happens. The isolation goes away, work returns to a solid and steady outflow and the company will generally claim the reward because of it. But this applies to the leaders too. They also need protection from people above them. So as you can see, this whole process has to be seen and used by the entire company for it work effectively. We are all human at the end of the day, and we all have a life to deal with outside of the workplace. We should try our best to make the office or wherever you are a safer place to work that doesn’t feel so dangerous anymore.
These are my thoughts for the day.