Workplace Culture: How to be more human at work

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 it’s 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 one of the last bastions 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 in the workplace? What is appropriate and even useful? Here are some thoughts:

1. Controlling Emotions May Not Be Necessary In The Workplace

Controlling your emotions may just make it even more difficult to keep your mind off the problem. Let the emotions come. Notice them. Breathe with them. Exhale and decide how you want to respond to those emotions. If it’s anger or frustration that you feel, think about what an appropriate response would be to take the situation forward – not to satisfy your anger but to find the best outcome for that situation.

2. Learn To Notice The Emotions Of Others

And then 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.

Contrary to common perception, emotions can help us to move forward in our workplace. As humans, we are all naturally emotional, and should leverage on this aspect of humanity to achieve the results we want at work.

This article was published on Executive Lifestyle on 2nd May 2016. You can view it here