Reimagining organizations by devising an innovative model that encourages productive, fulfilled, and engaged employees.
Imagine you lead an organization, or you are a member of a leadership team. You relinquish control of a project and place it (along with trust and confidence) in the hands of your team. What’s it going to take to improve workplace culture?
On March 15, 2020, we had to rethink our lives in terms of working, educating our children, visiting family and friends, buying groceries, socializing, and so much more. We evolved uncomfortably, but quickly. Virtual spaces popped up everywhere with the use of Zoom, WebEx, or other video communication apps. Business leaders were able to connect and bring together (however, limited) peers and teams while children, spouses, or house mates were in the same room or different ones and dogs barked or cats wandered across screens as a reminder of their presence too.
Essential workers bravely served communities across the nation, and across the globe for that matter, which allowed many of us to work remotely. Of course, some businesses closed their doors and faced challenges to reopen and offer up new ways of operating.
… workers are taking the lead to create the life they desire for themselves and their families.
According to Joseph Fuller and William Kerr in a recent HBR article, The Great Resignation Didn’t Start with the Pandemic, five factors, exacerbated by the pandemic, “combined to yield the changes that we’re living through in today’s labor market.” These factors are:
Workers are retiring in greater numbers but aren’t relocating in large numbers; they’re reconsidering their work-life balance and care roles; they’re making localized switches among industries, or reshuffling, rather than exiting the labor market entirely; and, because of pandemic-related fears, they’re demonstrating a reluctance to return to in-person jobs.” In other words, workers are taking the lead to create the life they desire for themselves and their families.
As business and workplace leaders, we made major decisions and changes in order to continue business operations despite the public health crisis, and to help mitigate COVID risks, especially for in-person operations. We, along with our teams, sat in a vulnerable and uncomfortable space. In crisis, we reinterpreted ways of moving around within and outside of the physical workspace and into virtual rooms. We had to trust that assigned tasks and projects would be completed on-time and with little direct oversight. Worker autonomy and independence, which are essential to experiencing dignity in the workplace, emerged as a consequence. We had to trust that our employees would not abandon us, especially during the pre-vaccination period of the pandemic. New policies and practices were enacted, continuing to evolve, as managing processes and leading people required flexibility, agility, and quite a bit of patience for all of us.
Dr. Robyn Short, CEO of Workplace Peace Institute, believes that “American businesses are witnessing a shift in the collective mindset of the workforce and what it means to be a contributor to the workplace. Expectations are evolving, and yesterday's business models of leadership are no longer adequate for today's personnel,” A paradigm shift in leadership is necessary to support and sustain this emerging collective mindset. Learn more about this paradigm shift in the infographic below.
As leaders, as individuals, we must be honest. After all, we are part of workplace culture too. The workplace culture has not worked for everyone, and employees are discovering the work environment matters and that work/life balance is essential to move forward. They are choosing who to work for, when, and in what capacity. Consequently, the traditional management model — even in a virtual space — is being challenged by employees.
As leaders, we must take seriously the voice of every contributor to the workplace and allow them to fully participate in the mission and purpose of the organization, in rich and authentic ways. This will require ways of thinking, new skills, a new mindset, and new behaviors. It will require on-going leadership training and leadership development.
Leadership must take seriously and do the work to reimagine workplace culture, where the whole person feels welcomed and psychologically safe to participate in the organization’s mission. As equal contributors, everyone participates, everyone succeeds.
What’s it going to take?
A paradigm shift — a shift from a traditional leadership approach to a new paradigm leadership approach. A collective mindset that insists on a workplace culture where an organization functions as a network, everyone leads, collaboration rules, meaning/purpose connects to community, genuine care lives in the work culture, and diversity, equity, and inclusion exist in every policy and practice.
Let’s create a work mindset where everyone thrives. Remember, you are an employee too.
Visit the Workplace Peace Institute Leadership Academy to learn more.
Workplace Peace Institute Leadership Academy exists to support leaders in honoring basic human needs and dignity needs in the workplace, so they can actualize human potential in the workplace. The Academy optimizes competencies in human behavior, communication skills, conflict resolution, and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging to create highly engaged workplaces where basic human needs and dignity are consistently honored. All our courses are offered online and can be customized for in-person workshops and seminars.