Leadership and leading when there is no sweet spot to lead from.
Connection, Disconnection, Centralise, Decentralise, Where’s The Sweet Spot?
“What do we want?” Everything!
“When do we want it?” Now!
I’m a Gen X and to be transparent, I feel quite disconnected from or confused about the generations that are coming along after me, or maybe it’s just that I feel invisible to them? I guess partly or maybe it’s fully because this happens to all generations. Baby boomers didn’t get the Gen X’s and all their long hair and their rock music and their rebellion against conformity.
So, how do you just get in and do the business of your business whilst the changing of the generations and of the times is adding another upheaval or another complex layer to running a business? A layer that has nothing to do with your primary business. A layer that you have to allocate precious recourses toward nutting out and mastering in order to be effective and productive and innovative and in growth.
It is really the age-old state of play in the process of tipping the scales with change and the overcompensation when trying to find a sweet spot or a happy medium through that change. Kind of like everyone moving over to the same side of the boat until it is at a tipping point and then they all quickly reactively running to the other side of the boat, reactively overcompensating.
Decentralisation is such an interesting phenomenon occurring in the workplace at the moment. The mind really does boggle thinking about all of the logistics, but, they are probably the easier part to get your head around. Or perhaps the least ambiguous. Compared to the psychological and human elements of decentralisation. What is it exactly that we are we trying to achieve with decentralisation? How will we know we have achieved it? And, decentralisation in a time where we have the technology to do so and yet, the technology itself is a cause of a certain type of disconnect. Yes, there is a great deal of wonderful connection due to our awesome technology but there is a certain type of connection that is lost. How important is this connection when it comes to productivity, engagement and team effectiveness?
So, what exactly is that lost connection and what does it matter? It matters because humans are physiologically complex creatures.
Look at nature, let’s observe “runt syndrome” just as a line of thought or reflection.
“Unfortunately for the runts, a certain level of maternal licking and nuzzling is necessary to turn on the production of growth hormone in the brain. Without growth hormone, food isn’t metabolised properly and growth and development do not progress. Barring intervention, the runt will “fail to thrive” and essentially, wither and die.” That is what I mean by physiologically complex. There are a string of events occurring.
My questions are building. What is decentralising trying to achieve exactly, what exactly is the lost connection and what does it matter?
I wonder, do people want to work from home or do people want to feel at home?
In business, humans are not a part of the furniture and they aren’t a part of the technology, and they are tricky to fit onto a balance sheet. People are the dynamic, living organism part of the business. So, if we look at trying to divi up the furniture and the time on a spreadsheet, we overlook or underestimate what it takes for a biological, living organism to thrive and what this means to businesses. I believe, YES thriving organisms is what you want in your business. If people are a little bit dead when they are on the job, they won’t tell you this and the spreadsheets but balance sheets and bottoms lines will reflect this in almost intangible ways. Because how do you measure a dynamic organism and its osmotic effects? Thriving living organisms sounds like a healthier option for a business compared to organisms that are a little bit dead inside.
So it is interesting to observe the angle where, “failure to thrive” in human infants has been shown to result from a lack of individualised, nurturing, physically affectionate parental care. Keeping in mind, adults are grown-up versions of their little person. Babies’ brains expect that they will experience nearly constant physical touch, rocking and cuddling: without it, they just don’t grow. They don’t grow! That is another example of humans being physiologically complex. And without receiving kind empathetic care, they are less likely to behave that way towards others as they get older. People are never too old to learn though!
Humans, being physiologically complex creatures, need physical connection and physically close encounters.
People are “wired” for human contact. We are actually wired to thrive on physical touch, it promotes mental wellbeing and actually, people only form an identity in relation to other people. Try to think of one aspect of your identity that is not reliant on others; identity is a social construction. So is there another question? Is it vital to consider how people’s identities are being shaped or changed or impacted in the workplace? Including and in spite of decentralisation practices.
I think what I am getting at here is, decentralisation and knowing how to lead well in this space, needs to consider the complex physiologically human animal and what they need to thrive. As opposed to moving the furniture around and the number of contact hours in or out of the office and or the tasks that need completing.
Humans need to foster genuine connections in environments that promote and encourage deeper discussions. These behaviours affect mental health. It is mentally nurturing and healthy to be in a team where people interdependently seek to meet a common purpose, often through problem-solving, in order to meet their own and their organisation’s goals. At a minimum, a team should be a cooperative unit and, at its best, a team is a collaborative unit.”
Whether or not this is achieved in a traditional bricks and mortar business address or in some alternative physical location, ultimately people need to be in close physical contact to thrive. Maybe not every day, but consistently. And people need to feel connected and people need to experience genuine empathy and compassion, two major components to real connection. Ensuring these soft skill approaches are culturally present and important will have an effect on the human biology and on people’s mental health.
Perhaps the equation isn’t around how many days a week in the office and how many out of the office as much as, how do we nurture the type of connection that is a non-negotiable? The connection that consists of empathy and compassion. I do think this type of connection is enhanced by empowering the individual to self-soothe (manage), to have more masterful tools and processes for managing their own emotions and brain chemicals and mindset habits, to the degree that people are working from a base state of self-mastery and connection to self. This, in my belief, is the solution to so many ‘people’ challenges, empowering the individuals to up-level their self-mastery. From this place, people are more wired to be solution focused and to take responsibility for their own capacity to thrive and to nurture their own needs and to be more proactive as opposed to the opposite of that.
To explore Self-Empowerment Programs that are focusing on building soft-skills that up-skill the individual or the team, contact Roslyn at firstname.lastname@example.org