Putting Emotion Back in Business - Now a TEDx Talk!
Updated: Sep 4, 2019
Watch my TEDx Talk HERE now.
Love, kindness, compassion. They’re not words heard very often in the workplace, are they? I’m sure you would be ridiculed if you used language like that too. And yet, to be kind, loving and compassionate are key emotions that all human beings need in order to survive.
So why aren’t emotions like this prevalent in the workplace? Why are we trained to leave our personal lives at home, take emotion out of work and effectively be a robot?
It’s not surprising there is an epidemic of mental health issues in the workplace when people are expected not to behave as a human being…with emotion.
My, albeit taboo, view is that most businesses put profit before people and that profit has become their sole focus. I get that businesses are there to make money (I have one myself afterall) but does this mean that we can’t be kind, caring & compassionate in our business dealings?
Money doesn’t make the world go round, people do.
I wonder how much more profitable businesses would be if they put their people & their emotional needs first? How much more of a committed, motivated, happy workforce there would be if there was a greater sense of community, trust and compassion in the workplace? It’s long been said that a happy workforce is a productive one.
And I’m not talking free fruit, onsite gyms, flexible hours, break out areas and table tennis. These are just sticking plasters for an intrinsically out of date working culture. A culture that praises people for working long hours and encourages the competition of individuals all in the name of profit.
If staff were the absolute priority, including those at the very top, I fundamentally believe there would be a step change in attitudes and productivity. When people feel valued, heard and loved (yes, loved - it’s not a dirty word!) they feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves and work hard to maintain that feeling. Then the free fruit and onsite gyms become a valued norm not a sticking plaster ‘benefit’.
Companies who focus their energies and attentions on profit are effectively cultivating a culture of ‘survival of the fittest’ where emotions are left outside the office and it’s every wo/man for her/himself. There’s no point in encouraging team work, motivation, competition, a sense of achievement as there’s no trust or job security and staff care as much about their employers as the employers do about them. This perpetuates a culture of stress, exhaustion, frustration, blame, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, pessimism and so on. How likely is it that a business with this kind of culture is going to be profitable and survive?
Worryingly, a huge proportion of the working population work in exactly a company like that. So many of my private clients tell me how they want to work in a place that is harmonious & where people look out for each other, where there is true work/life balance and a sense of community. Businesses ask me to deliver workshops on managing stress and building cultures of wellbeing more and more.
What if more businesses were like communities working together as one? Where each member of the community feels trusted, supported, loved and trusts community leaders. Notice the difference between the words community and team and the feelings they conjure up. The old model of teams needs to change. People at work need to feel trusted and need to trust that their community has their back. Without trust, what do you have? A business without trust, love, compassion and support at its core feels like a house of cards to me.
Sadly, a culture has developed to make profit the priority over people every time. The decision makers don’t see an alternative to redundancies because the priority, and therefore, focus, is profit and so trust is lost at every level.
I’m sure no-one enjoys making people redundant and it’s time we changed our focus and approach to business.
Putting emotion back in business and treating each other as human beings rather than numbers on a spreadsheet seems like a pretty great place to start!
The world has changed and if businesses want to survive and be profitable, this step change in working culture is a must, not a choice.
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Ps. You can watch my TEDx Talk, Putting Emotion Back in Business Here