Throughout my career, I’ve done my best work when I’ve worked in organisations that treated me as a unique human being.
They personalised their approach rather than ‘processing’ me as a number. I felt like I mattered. I looked forward to the week ahead on my Sunday evening. I had a trusting, high-quality relationship with my immediate manager. I knew what was expected of me and what good performance looked like. I was stretched and challenged to move outside of my comfort zone and take on more responsible and complex work.
This is my personal experience, but I’ve found these basic requirements act as strong motivators for other people too. I’ve also experienced first-hand the impact when these basic requirements are not in place. It’s horrible to be treated as a number. It’s demotivating to feel like you don’t matter. It’s awful to have the anxiety of work affect all aspects of your life, including your family. It’s stressful when you don’t have a trusting relationship with your immediate manager. It disempowers people to never tell them what good looks like. It limits potential, to hold people back.
What surprises me the most is how commonplace the second set of characteristics are. It’s no longer shocks me to see how much suffering and stress is endured by people in organisations, which is completely avoidable. It’s become normalised, and it’s a scary proposition in which no one benefits.
It sounds so simple to introduce humane treatment —if we get these basic ingredients in place, we create the recipe for success. Yet simple doesn’t mean commonplace.
So, we need to crack the code as the future of human health and the success of our organisations depends on putting people first at a deep level. It’s challenging work challenging entrenched mindsets and ways of working. Important work is seldom easy, however. It’s work we love doing, the impact is transformational and powerful and changes people’s whole lives. Why wouldn’t you want to be at the apex of such profound change in the world?