Balancing the individual with the collective

Balancing the individual with the collective – encouraging the “me” to show up in the great wide “we”

Christmas is over. We’ve survived the festive feast and arrived at the New Year full of hope and some little expectation.

birds of a feather....sometimes flock together

birds of a feather….sometimes flock together

Hopefully some of that’s true, but as we re-enter the world of work perhaps there’s an opportunity to contrast our experience amongst our families with that of our work environments.  Some of us could be pleased to see the back of fractious families and now long for the relative safety of a working structures, but others could be frustrated at how much of ourselves we now feel obliged to close down in the workplace.

Like the leftover turkey, we may ask what’s left of all those rare qualities we may have expressed over the festive period – our love, our playfulness, even our creativity? Why is it that sometimes we dare not show more of them at work?

There are organisations which positively encourage their people to show up with these qualities, yet many others are sceptical about their value in the workplace. The regret is that by denying some of our innate aliveness, they also miss out on a huge part of who we are that we could bring to the business in the form of a passionate and motivated performance.

Perhaps there are parallels with some of the traditions we feel compelled to follow at Christmas. Many we embrace wholeheartedly, but others we may question and yet they seem hard to change. This is equally true of persistent narratives in the workplace. The task of shifting the working environment to reflect more of who we really are can appear overwhelming, and so we fall in with the established ways of behaving – so much so that we’re in danger of losing ourselves in the collective.

The trick is to find a balance – if staff are given more freedom than they are ready for, one of the outcomes is often a lack of accountability. People go missing in action, which leads to a slow erosion of confidence in these more progressive initiatives.

There are many tools and methodologies designed to address such challenges. But sometimes it can be much simpler than that. Most of us, at some time in our lives, have experienced what it means to live together as a loving and caring family. If people could be encouraged to bring some of that spirit to work, our organisations would be transformed.

If we’ve been lucky enough to experience that this Christmas we may have a valuable reference for how we could begin to create the working spaces where all of who we are comes alive.

Fanciful or fascinating? We at Human Organising Co would love to explore those questions and many others with you at our upcoming webinar on Wednesday 9th January @ 1900hrs….please join us then or at one of our other gatherings during the year.

by Philip Woodford



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