Being human in an organisation

We spend a lot of our childhood studying so that one day we can “go to work”. “Going to work” has become the epitome of what it means to be an adult. It defines responsibility, power and the ability to cope with the “real world” out there.

But as we develop and grow in our career, how do we keep ourselves grounded to what makes us human in our work environment? At the most basic level, what makes us human?

Perhaps it’s the ability to think and reason. Perhaps the ability to connect. Or perhaps it’s the ability to feel. Among all the possibilities, I think having feelings and emotions truly sets us apart as humans. It is the one of the last bastion of humanity that has not been “robotised” – yet.

If being human and having feelings go hand in hand, how do we display feelings and emotions at the workplace? What is appropriate and even useful? Here are some thoughts :

1) Controlling emotions is maybe not necessary in the workplace. On the contrary, controlling emotions may just make it even more difficult to keep your mind off it. Let the emotions come. Notice it. Breathe with it. Exhale and decide how do you want to respond to that emotion. If it’s anger or frustration that you feel, think about what an appropriate respond would be to take the situation forward. Not to satisfy your anger but to satisfy the best outcome for that situation.

2) Learn to notice the emotions of others. And decide what you want to do about that emotion. You may decide to do nothing but at least you would have practiced noticing. If you decide to respond, be prepared that you may not get the reaction you anticipated.

3) There is no shame in stating what you feel and what you want. Too often people are left second guessing the intentions and wants of others. Make life easy for others – and yourself. Say what you feel and what you are going to do about it.