Authenticity at work - Our humanness in the workplace
In a restorative mediation process, people will often describe some of the challenges they have recently faced in their personal lives. They then might explain to me that they don’t let who they are at home affect who they are at work.
The notion of being two different people; one person at work and another at home, is outdated as organisations increasingly embrace the view that it is our very humanness and authenticity that really counts in the workforce.
There remains a line between behaving professionally at work and not letting our personal problems impact our work environment too much, and conversely not offloading our frustrations from work too much onto our loved ones at home. However, this is a soft line. It does not mean being two different people. The person we are at home is the same person we are at work.
Our humanness in the workplace gives others permission to embrace and display human qualities such as compassion, empathy, fallibility and an acknowledgement that we need support.
I often say in restorative mediations that “trust and respect is not an ‘on-off switch’” - it has to gradually be re-earned by continually demonstrating to each other our willingness and ability to care and support each another.
In the context of resolving conflict, Michael Leunig, an Australian cartoonist, poet and cultural commentator poignantly describes this as the “fragile ecology of the heart and mind" in the following poem….
"We pray for the fragile ecology of the heart and mind. The sense of meaning. So finely assembled and balanced and so easily overturned. The careful, ongoing construction of love. As painful and exhausting as the struggle for truth and as easily abandoned.
Hard fought and won are the shifting sands of this sacred ground, this ecology. Easy to desecrate and difficult to defend, this vulnerable joy, this exposed faith, this precious order. This sanity.
We shall be careful. With others and with ourselves.” Michael Leunig