By Michael Gunther
I once worked for a large company with a very strict culture that encouraged a separation between work life and personal life. This led to an inability to be authentic at work since it was supposed to be “all business.”
As tough decisions are made at work, we have all probably heard statements like “it is just business” or “this is a business decision not a people decision” or “it is black and white, no emotion should be part of the decision.” It seemed individuals that showed emotion, or the “softer” management skills, were perceived as weak or less effective. It was as if you had to leave your personhood at the door. No wonder employees often mistrust leaders who exhibit these attitudes – there is no authenticity to their leadership.
As I gain more knowledge about the transparency of leaders within the workplace and cultures that support authenticity, I discovered this concept has been gaining more momentum as a legitimate way of being in the work environment. In fact, as you browse a local bookstore, you’ll note that there are a number of books related to bringing your soul or heart to the workplace. When an organization decides to lead through its values and its why, they will see a positive return on investment and a more collaborative work environment.
These company culture initiatives are becoming more and more popular, because at the heart (no pun intended) and strength of every business are the successes of relationships, both internally and externally. Being a relationship-centered business seems like common sense, but is often not a priority for many leaders or organizations. Relationship-centered management requires leaders to be real with themselves and to truly care about those they lead. It requires a higher level of authenticity, transparency, and connectedness than most people are willing to express.
How relationship-centered are you? How would your employees rate you as a relationship-centered manager? I encourage you to identify all the stakeholders within your realm of influence and see if there are actions you can take to bring your ‘heart’ into the workplace and see what transpires. You may be surprised how those individuals may be willing to assist you in achieving new heights and creating a relationship-centered environment.