Cultivating Human Workplaces

We all need to feel like we matter. Today, the injection of massive doses of humanity into workplaces is especially necessary so employees can find new purpose in their lives and work. We hear employees crying for workplaces that not only provide a paycheque, but also feed their souls. In this new age, we no longer need leaders to be heroes; we need leaders to be healers. So how are we to create deeply human organizational cultures?

Early in my career as the Chief Psychiatric Social Worker at a maximum-security penitentiary, I was able to closely observe the behaviour of inmates. Sometimes they would punish a member from their group by putting him “on the dummy”, which meant the targeted victim was totally ignored and treated as if he didn’t exist. Ostracized inmates described this behaviour as even more hurtful than their loss of freedom.

We no longer need leaders to be heroes; we need leaders to be healers.

The reality is that far too many people are put “on the dummy” in our organizations today. People want their voices heard, but they are often silenced. The silencing of employees can be the result of systemic depersonalization that comes from a rigid top-down hierarchical model. Sadly, this model is very much alive in organizations today.

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