I would like to explore the connection between self-development and the workplace to conclude the series on self-development. I created this website to offer you tips, hints and impulses at the micro (individual) and the macro (organization) level. The macro and micro are interconnected and influence each other. It is a complex system which make life even more interesting. An action at the micro level can influence the macro level and vice versa.
Humans are social animals whose life experiences are impregnated by their DNA, family, community and culture. They have a conscious and unconscious mind which impact the way they behave and as consequence their capacity to adapt to new situations.
Humans group in organizations in order to create something (a product, a service) bigger than themselves. Chances are that you work in a company in order to provide for yourself and your family. You did not choose your colleagues, managers and clients. This means that the workplace functions with different sets of rules than the one of a community or a family.
In the self-development series we focused on the self in order to become more free and start to live a more conscious life. The following points aim to accompany you in your reflection on your relationships in the workplace.
Emotions & poker face
We can all agree that showing emotions at work is not welcomed. For example, you are supposed to keep your composure even if the client is unpolite or the boss abusive. Emotions labeled as negative are even more tabou. Do not dare getting furious, discourage, or even upset in the workplace.
You better make a poker face when you interact with colleagues. We learned how to repress our emotions in order to be accepted within the company. This effort to downsize emotions creates many tensions at the personal, team, department and organizational level.
We are not showing our true self at work. This kind of self-suppression engenders disconnection. The consequences are numerous but here are some well known issues: Employees are waiting for an order from the top in order to act, depressions, burn out can be counted
The pyramidal hierarchy at work is a pyramid of power. The one at the top has simply more power than you. In this conditions, power games appear and create even more tensions as emotions and personal point of views cannot always be expressed freely. Many movies such as Star Wars show that the quest for power encourages “unhuman behavior”.
In countries where democracy prevails. It is interesting to see that companies work like monarchies with a concentration of power at the top. It is not surprising that the vocabulary used in business is the one of war.
When power is concentrated in few hands the powerless may group to face it. This explains the existence of work unions, strikes, sabotage and complote. Is it a good idea to concentrate the power in one place?
Everyone is different while being same
Each one of us has different experiences and competences. At the end of the day, we all search for pleasant experiences and avoiding pain. The strategies we use to achieve our goals are different. We may “hurt” people with our actions or words because we did not fulfill their expectations. Societies created “codes of conduct” in order to reduce the chance of conflict.
Only psychopaths impose pain on others voluntarily. The awareness of the difference in strategies and the similarity in our needs makes you understand that colleagues and managers are not voluntarily trying bring you down. Most of them are just doing their best based on what they learned so far. Maybe their best is the worst you could ever imagine.
Considering that we are all doing what we can. It is easier to not take things personally. You never really know why people do what they do unless you ask them with an open mind.
Others are your mirror
Have you ever heard that others are your mirror? It means that what you see in others exists in yourself. If you admire someone’s quality you are recognizing the existence of it in yourself which also works for defaults.
The person you are looking at may have a more developed quality or default than you. For example, when you recognize a great speaker or a compulsive liar. This does not mean that you are a great speaker or a compulsive liar. This simply means that you also express those behavior.
When judging others be aware of the critique you express and try to understand what it means about you because you can recognize areas of improvement.
When you are at work try to remember the following things:
- Emotions and poker face: Be aware that emotions are not really accepted and observe how they still influence your life at work.
- Power games: Hierarchy and unbalanced power sharing push some people into behaviours they would never have had if they were in other conditions.
- Everyone is different while being the same: Our similarity is that of the need for peace and to provide for our physiological and psychological needs. Our difference lies in the strategies we put in place to meet our needs. Everyone is doing the best they can, and they don’t necessarily want to hurt you.
- The others are your mirror: You see in the other a part of who you are. You can use this mirror for your personal development reflection.
The series Self-development is over for now. I will be back in four weeks after little break. I hope you enjoyed reading the articles and invite you to register to the newsletter in order to receive the articles directly via email and access to the worksheets.