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The Tectonic Shift That Crushed the Corporate Cubicle Prison System

A new dawn is here. We must ask ourselves what we can do to embrace the changes and opportunities that it brings.

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Corporate Office Building

We all know 2020 was the year that the rules changed for just about everything. The very foundation of our physical, social, emotional, political, and economic situations went through a tectonic shift. As we potentially see a light at the end of the tunnel, many are talking about “going back to normal.” What we all need to understand is that there is no going back. We can only go forward.

In many ways, for many people, the last few years have been terrible and terrifying. However, if you are familiar with my work you’ve heard me say: “Dragon Leaders are born in fire.” In other words, should we decide to embrace it, the thing that could destroy us will define us. As a result, the majority of people have been working remotely and some have discovered a way to break free from the corporate chains. They’ve been freed from their cubical prisons and the restrictions of the office. 

A new dawn is here. We must ask ourselves what we can do to embrace the changes and opportunities that it brings. 

A few weeks ago Jacqueline Throop-Robinson and I sat down to discuss some hard questions about the corporate world in this ever-changing time. As we begin to understand this tectonic shift, we have been given an opportunity to address and correct our previous mistakes. 

Jacqueline Throop-Robinson. Jacqueline is the founder of Spark Engagement Inc. 

She has 20 years of research experience that has created a ground-breaking view of passionate work experiences, including individual profiles that support EVERY employee. As the best-selling author of Fire Up Your Team, Jacqueline focuses on inspiring individuals and leaders to pursue fulfilling and inspiring work.  Jacqueline works globally with a wide-range of clients, as a director and the co-creator of the ONLY employee engagement lens, that reveals the hearts and minds of your people. She is a multiple RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards nominee and the author of the soon to be released ‘Sparked.’ 

Find out more about Jacqueline Throop-Robinson  https://www.sparkengagementindex.ca https://twitter.com/SparkEngagIndex https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/sparkengagementindex

Embracing Change 

To springboard any change requires a genuine high level of accountability. Therefore, as leaders we must ask ourselves and each other, if we have been part of a system that was designed to crush the heart and soul of our employees in order to have them conform? If that is the case, (even inadvertently) how can we fix it? 

At the beginning of the pandemic, we were forced to quickly adapt to a constantly changing environment. Business leaders were forced to choose between embracing remote working and pushing against it. 

Jacqueline noted that the majority of people in leadership positions have openly stepped up to the challenge and have seen a huge rise in engagement. However, some companies have retreated from this change which has not only caused a drop in engagement, but also fostered individual levels of tension.

So, what do we, as leaders, need to do? This may sound like a simple question, but it has a complex answer.

Perhaps now more than ever, the most important thing we must do is remember how to connect with others. Everyone has been forced into a state of isolating many of us have never experienced before. Jacqueline and I discussed that successful leaders are those who are openly vulnerable with their employees. Jacqueline pointed out that it’s okay to say “I’m confused” or “ I’m not clear on this”. It’s also important for leaders to recognize the struggles people may be going through and reach out to support others.

At the start of the pandemic one piece of advice I consistently gave (and still give) to the leaders I work with was to make a list of everyone who directly answers to you and everyone who is one step below them. Then, schedule time to contact each person for a minimum of 5 minutes. This connection has been and will continue to be crucial to the success of any business.

We’ve conditioned the word ‘leader’ to mean ‘I’m responsible for getting everything done’ as opposed to ‘I’m responsible for my people’. Leaders are in a position to not only guide and help others, but also teach future leaders. It’s crucial we take time not only to support our people but to show future leaders that it is crucial to do so.

Breaking The Corporate Chains

Staff Squared HR has reported that 85% of people hate their jobs. We might want to blame our people, but as leaders, we must hold ourselves accountable. Because the rubber meets the road when we as leaders ask ourselves: How are we, as leaders, contributing to the overwhelming unhappiness of our people? We might do well to remember, everyone starts their career bright-eyed and bushy-tailed ready to make a difference in the world. So, at what point do we (or our team members) give up on the dream?

For many, the pandemic has been extremely difficult, but for many others it has unexpectedly, at least psychologically, emancipated them from the feelings of corporate slavery!  

Jacqueline pointed out that most often people don’t actually hate their jobs, but they have an issue with their experience in the workplace. Oftentimes, there is something blocking that individual from fulfilling their career goals or moving forward with their work. Jacqueline advises those individuals to address the issue rather than fixate on it. While we may not be able to control everything about our work environment, we certainly have some influence over it. 

With that in mind, it’s important to take in the context and your perspective of your environment. 

How can we support and celebrate the accomplishments of our people and ourselves? You might all start by, setting a scheduled time each day to identify one successful thing you were able to accomplish today even if no one else knew about it?

Everything counts!

You don’t have to cure cancer, make a fascinating discovery, or end world hunger. It doesn’t have to be monumental. It can be something as simple as being kind to someone even when you’re having a bad day. Small things add up quickly. Everytime you make a decision like this, you’re growing and evolving emotionally. As small as it may seem, that’s something to celebrate! 

Consider how you can add to the conversation. How can you help yourself and others break out of the corporate shackles? What can your business do to support your people during these challenging times?

Dov Baron is first and foremost “The Dragonist”. As The Dragonist, he teaches us how to recognize, find, retain and nurture dragons (top talent) hidden within our organizations. Want to learn more about what Dov has to offer, and how you too can become a Dragonist in your realm? If you and your leadership team are dedicated to getting the result you set out to achieve in the most meaningful manner, bring Dov in to speak to your organization about the strategic advantages of Dragon Leadership. Go here to get started. Copyright: Dov Baron International 2020

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