Every great change in our life starts with a dream we wonder into. Work is such an important part of our lives that it deserves a whole dream of its own. What does work mean to us? What organisations do we want to contribute to? How do we want to engage in these organisations? What is creating flow between employees and organisations? What could the future of work look like, the future we don’t know?
These are not luxury questions but rather pressing ones.
Stories of disempowering workplace, hopelessness, helplessness and burn-outs are becoming a sad trend rather than a one-off lamentable mishap. In the meantime, all companies claim they aspire to be great places to work; that their human capital is crucial to them and that they want to develop their people. That’s a gap which sadly doesn’t seem to close.
I find this surprising. Don’t you?
Research has shown that burn-outs affect the most valuable and capable employees and not the weakest ones as it is sadly commonly believed. These are the people who take onto themselves the terrible paradox that corporations are not able to address: humans are not resources. humans are not number making machines.
In many corporate cultures, this is sadly not only misunderstood, it is plainly disregarded. As long as the mantra is: perform, deliver, achieve targets (no matter what), then we will continue to head at high-speed into the wall and jeopardise our current and future generations. That’s plainly unacceptable.
As long as our top corporate leadership is sacrificing their humanity to perform, deliver and achieve targets at the cost of their emotional and spiritual balance, corporations will continue to generate more stress, disempowerment, helplessness and hopelessness. Work will be an empty shell of fear. That’s also unacceptable.
The solution is not to bring more women in the workplace if what is expected from these women is to abide to the same poor mantra of performance.
As long as we envision workforce as a resource, we trap ourselves in a terrible confusion. Humans are creative power in action. Humans are emotional beings who strive for wholeness. Organisations are here to serve humanity and not the opposite.
The reason why we need more women at the top is not to balance the gender gap. It is because our humanity needs to embrace those feminine qualities that have been suppressed for millennia: inclusion, vulnerability, openness to the unknown, grace, collaborative work, selflessness, forgiveness, surrender, creativity…and so much more. Women have an intrinsic ability to embody these qualities but it does require courage to walk a path less traveled in an essentially rigid male driven corporate culture stuck in the head. These feminine qualities are also not exclusive to women – they are feminine but not gender exclusive.
If we are serious about healing our workplaces, it’s crucial that we engage in a discussion, both male and female leaders, about these feminine qualities and how to start living them again. It is crucial that we take a step towards embodying them again. It’s experiential.
We can wait and continue our madness at the cost of more burn-outs, more despair but the gap will become ever more difficult to close. The longer we wait, the more disconnected we become with these qualities that are essentially part of who we are as a specie.
When your house is falling apart, you don’t wait till it’s a ruin to engage in repair work. You may procrastinate and convince yourself that it’s ok to push a little longer… Change is scary. Integrating our lost feminine essential qualities is scary; until we actually start the work and grab the low hanging fruits that are waiting here for us and feel again the amazing power of integration. Then each step becomes easier.
Let us not wait too long.