You can heal your workplace. Symptoms of workplaces needing healing include poor service, unresolved conflict, complaining, blaming , confusion, defensiveness, excessive stress, hurtful behaviors, inability to communicate openly and honestly, lack of trust, and apathy. If your workplace exhibits any of these symptoms you can help to heal it.
The cause of all of these symptoms is fear. This includes fear of loss of job, fear of confrontation, fear of being wrong, fear of being criticized, and fear of losing one's financial security. Whenever fear drives our behavior we are bound to create unhealthy conditions. Unfortunately this is the case for many organizations. There is hope, and that hope lies in you. Your ability to be a leader can have a healing influence on everyone around you.
In order to heal your organization you must heal yourself. You do not help people to behave in healthy, functional ways simply by telling them. You must be a model for what you want. If you want cooperation, you must be an excellent cooperator. If you want direct, compassionate communication, you must communicate directly and compassionately. Face and accept your own tendencies to blame, complain, and feel like a victim. Make a decision to take responsibility, move out of the neighborhood of victimhood, and heal these tendencies. As you heal, you help others to heal.
Your spirituality is key in your ability to heal. It is difficult to forgive self and others without spiritual help. Ask for help. Stay connected to your Spiritual Source throughout the day. Take breaks to check in and ask for help. Recognize your connection to everyone in your workplace. Healing comes from cultivating connection with others. Refuse to blame or hold grudges. Through prayer you can receive help in changing your perceptions of people and situations. Don't leave your spirituality at the door when you go to work.
In organizational life there is no blame. Most causes of problems and conflicts come from ways people think. How we think determines our relationships with each other. How we relate to each other becomes the structure of the organization. Systems thinking expert Peter Senge has defined organizational structure as: “Choices made over time. " In other words it is the way things are done. The tendency in organizations is to blame whoever is standing closest to the problem. This tendency ignores the effects of systemic structure.
Blaming people prevents us from seeing root causes of problems. When I receive poor customer service I don't blame the server. I realize that poor service is a symptom of inadequate structure. Organizations that offer excellent service have clear expectations, effective training of employees, and value people. Poor service is completely unacceptable in excellent service organizations. It doesn't fit. We cannot heal the negative aspects of organizations by attacking them. We cannot heal “negative" people by criticizing them. Attack inspires defense. We heal by establishing clarity. We must ask and answer the tough questions? What is this organization for? What is our mission? What vision do we aspire to? Who do we need to be as people in order to achieve this vision and mission? Are we willing to live our mission and vision right now? Are we willing to provide the skills, knowledge, and expectations to our employees needed to create this vision? Since thinking is the root cause of all problems we must teach ourselves and others how to think. The person who treats me poorly does not know how to think in this situation.
A leader teaches people how to think. The leader does this by being a clear thinker herself. She knows who she is. She knows what she expects. She can see the capabilities in others. She is willing to give honest feedback to others. She understands her own emotions and does not blame others for them. She is unwilling to accept anything less than the best. She leads from the inside out by living her values, her vision, and her spirituality. A leader is a vision holder by being the vision. If the vision is to be a world class organization, she treats her employees and colleagues as if they are already world class employees. In this way she helps them to see themselves as world class.
You may think you are not in a position to be this kind of leader. Whether you are sitting in a corner office, serving a customer directly, or working on a production line, you have the power to lead. As a powerful spiritual being you know that you create your own experience at work. You are drawing to you the level of friendliness, cooperation, and service you receive. Envision what you really want. Envision what will be in the highest good for yourself and others. Be what you want. Decide who you will be at work and be it. Live your vision of a great organization by playing your role as a leader and team member. Reinforce what you want by giving people daily positive feedback for the good they do.
The most difficult thing for most people in the workplace is to communicate honestly, directly, and compassionately about problems. The key is in who you are being when you communicate. Your intent is to be truly helpful. You are not there to fix anyone. You offer help by understanding the other person and how they see the world. Offer feedback to others from a place of deep caring and of seeing their greatness.
As you insist on living a vision beneficial to all, you will impact the structure of the organization. Your choices will affect the choices of others. Many will be inspired by your integrity and courage. Some people may react negatively . You cannot allow their negative reactions to change who you are. Pray for help. Bless those who are negative. Take care of yourself by having someone outside the organization that you can talk to. You are a light and a blessing. The healing power of one courageous, compassionate leader is incredible. The great leader and healer your organization needs is here. It's you.
William Frank Diedrich is a speaker, executive coach, and the author of Beyond Blaming: Unleashing Power and Passion in People and Organizations. William offers keynotes and workshops on leadership and moving beyond blaming. William also offers an inexpensive, yet powerful online leadership class, The Leaders’ Edge, and a free e-newsletter, Transformation Times. Learn more about William at http://noblaming.com