Let’s be open about this. We spend most of lives at work. We all have families, friends, personal interests and social lives, but still we spend most of out time engaged in work many of us do within an organization. That means that more and more people are becoming acutely aware of their need for more work-life balance than ever before. More and more of us are no longer willing to sacrifice our families, our mental and physical health for organizations which do not take good care of us, whose visions we do not share, and which regard us as mere employees, expendable resources with a finite life span inside the company.
So what is it that we really want in our work lives? What we want in our lives in all other levels: self-actualization. We want to be able to explore and find a unique expression of ourselves, our intellectual and emotional self. We want to feel we belong to a community of like-minded, like-spirited people who share a purpose. Financial compensation for work is no longer the only factor when we decide to accept or keep a job. What use is it earning a big fat salary when you have no time left to spend with your children who are growing up right before your eyes? Or with your spouse? Your friends? What is the use of having money when you are not healthy? When you become deprived of the basic needs of any human being, such as good quality sleep, eating habits, mindfulness?
We need organizations who are willing to take this leap. Leaders who are visionary and prepared to orchestrate the paradigm shifts that the world needs today. They need to understand that people need to be given the opportunity to become self-driven. There needs to be a change in the very quality of people’s engagement in their work lives. Leaders need to be confident in reshaping the traditional centralizing hierarchical leadership model. People are naturally driven to become self-actualized when they are given the trust, the autonomy and the tools to do so in the organization they work in (notice I used the word in and not for). Where there is a shared vision, there are shared purposes. Where there are shared purposes, there is human drive to achieve common goals.
No more small talk. Let’s be real. A new model for nurturing human capital is the most fundamental innovation that organizations need today in order to survive and to thrive. It is possible. Many organizations the world over are already doing it and are soaring. The undeniable truth is that people want to be happy at work. They want to express themselves, be appreciated and belong. Happy people like that is the very blood of any organization. Courageous and visionary leadership is the energy that keeps the heart beating.