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New year, new leadership

Compassionate organizations

I’ve been advocating about the need for compassion in the workplace for a long time -- and it does feel as though I’ve been alone on my soap box more often than not. That’s why the Mindfulness work that Anika so eloquently writes about is so meaningful, and such a great Archetype partnership. Late in December, I ran across an article from Dr. David Rock (SCARF model) sharing some of the trends he saw for 2023 Imagine my pleasant surprise when I read his suggestions – que the happy dance music!

  • Psychological safety – everyone has a voice

  • Mindfulness – being present with each other and creating safe space

  • Neurodiversity – we all think differently, embrace the thought diversity

  • Caring about others – taking care of others and providing opportunities for everyone to succeed

Yeah! I was no longer alone on my soap box. Others in the academic leadership community are shouting the need for these things to occur within organizations. His position was that with the coming wave of resignations well as a trend of “quiet quitting,” leaders should take note to ensure a continuity of operations.

Its an and, not a but…

Many within our organizations are frustrated, working in a state of apathy. As a result, leaders need to take a stand to ensure that organizations have the human resources on hand to bring strategic initiatives to fruition, without a team of excited, happy, members organizations will not succeed. From my perspective its an “and,” not a “but.” It goes beyond ensuring effective operations, it requires leadership, as a practice, to care about our team members to improve the overall work experience.

It’s time to eradicate fear and pain in the workplace. They drive frustration, resentment, and apathy. How can any organization function in these conditions? So, while it’s important to be mindful of the great resignation and quiet quitting, the bigger issue simply comes down to how do we take care of each other.

Years of supportive research

Actually, academics have been researching and writing about the need for a caring environment for years:

  • the need for voice in the organization (Withey & Cooper, 1989)

  • Ryan and Oestreich (1998) – fear is not your friend

  • Cuddy, Fiske, and Glick, 2012 - warmth is a necessary component of leadership

  • Kouzes & Posner (30 years!) - Encourage the Heart

·... to name just a few.

This idea of a caring environment is not new, yet here we are, still struggling to figure out the what, why, and how. I’ve worked with manufacturing facilities that take better care of their equipment than their employees. Lets make 2023 the year we shift that old, tired mentality.

Psychological safety, mindfulness, and neurodiversity are all must haves if we’re going to take care of each other. In the absence of these things, it’s difficult to care for others because we are operating from a place of fear or stress. Once in that mental/emotional space it becomes nearly impossible to focus on anything other than a state of self-preservation. It’s time to start having these conversations about how team members are treated within the organization. It’s time. It’s time to #re-envision leading!

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