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The real ‘bottom line’ for businesses today

4 months ago · · 2 comments

The real ‘bottom line’ for businesses today

“Discover the secret reason why great businesses fail”

You may not realise how much society and its educational systems selectively reinforce the rational and concrete over the emotional and symbolic.

And the huge impact this has on our lives.

Some of us had parenting that was sensitive to deeper emotional realities and consciously allowed us the ‘appropriate space and boundaries’ to give it healthy expression.

Most of us, however, were taught to ignore our emotional lives – as if it were a sign of weakness – and were ‘told’ by our parents, our teachers and other authority figures to simply get on with things.

As we grow older, our ways of dealing with emotion continue to impact on our experience, particularly our experience in the workplace.

Think about it. An organisation has all the elements of our family of origin: authority or parental figures in the form of management (with the ‘boardroom’ possibly taking on the symbolic significance of the ‘bedroom’ – where the secrets are kept and discussed), as well as all the competition and conflict with colleagues who parallel the siblings and associated rivalry that we may have grown up with.

The picture is further complicated by the overlaying of our own particular personal histories, unresolved negative experiences, and associated stress-responses and triggers that are forever present.

Nobel Prize Laureate William Faulkner put it well: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past!”

In businesses, ignoring the deeper emotional realm can be an expensive lesson.

When a company is under pressure and stress levels spiral, management tends to overcompensate by becoming increasingly closed and even hostile to the underlying emotional forces that cause us to react and behave the way we do.

In fact, most organisations implicitly believe that emotions don’t belong at work at all, and most managers are ill-equipped to deal with the emotional dimension in any shape or form.

When emotional undercurrents are ignored, or even opposed, cultural dysfunction follows. Communication is clouded, relationships deteriorate, trust is eroded, destructive power games surface and most importantly – creativity and innovation are stifled.

In our global, competitive and ever-evolving business world, companies can’t afford to throw out creativity.

Doing so may literally sow the seeds of their destruction.

The solution lies in self-awareness, being attuned to the power of the emotional realm within yourself and others.

The good news is that emotional self-awareness can be developed and strengthened. It is like an internal ‘muscle’, heavily atrophied and in need of some serious flexing and development.

But this kind of training may prove a lot harder than a gym workout…

Self-awareness demands real courage, authenticity and integrity. It requires you to slow down, reflect and also open yourself up to feedback.

And it is critical to actively seek out honest feedback, as many will sugarcoat or withhold it, fearing and believing that somehow it may ‘hurt’ the recipient, which blocks much development and honed growth.

Becoming more self-aware is definitely bound to involve uncomfortable and vulnerable territory. Which explains why we naturally avoid it – some of us for our entire lives.

And given how busy and distracted we are these days, it is incredibly easy and convenient to unconsciously engineer such avoidance…

We are masters at cluttering up our lives, to the point of it becoming an addiction. And technology is just one example.

Some motivation that can help here are the rich benefits and value for those willing to put in the effort: empowering and liberating shifts will begin to unfold in all spheres of your life.

But what does this mean for companies?

The deafening roar of quarterly reports and daily pressures cause us to forget the emotional reality of human beings – the most valuable assets and capital of any business.

The research findings are clear: authentic, human leadership and emotional self-awareness are what underpin the most healthy, thriving and integrated companies.

These workplaces have the highest levels of trust. And trust leads to openness and engagement, both indispensable for sustainable peak-performance.

When businesses finally wake up to this, they can start to take the brave but necessary steps that will ensure that their real bottom line does not continue to sustain a loss.

Categories: Life tips



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