• The Cost of Playing It Safe

    I have a friend who works for a bully. It's an awful situation. Sure, there are policies about respectful workplace and harassment, yet in reality very little is done to address the bad behaviours of employees in the work environment. The higher up the employee, it seems the less likely there will be an intervention. Why is that? I think it's a systemic attitude of denial and benign neglect, or cordial hypocrisy (Solomon and Flores, 2003). 

    Photograph: Li Wei

    Our culture is so invested in work and what people think about us, that it has paralyzed our ability to speak freely and live authentically. Externally driven values and rewards that honour performance objectives, profits, and cost efficiencies rule the day.

    In a low-trust organization, fear and anxiety are contagious emotions that have a powerful influence over people's thinking and behaviours. It increases absenteeism rates and creates a work atmosphere that is based on survival rather than generating thriving, innovative communities of creativity and collaboration.

    Image: Piccsy

    Contrary to how this post began, this isn't about righting the wrongs of the bully or providing solutions for how to change organizational culture. It's more personal. This is a reminder about living from a place of believing in yourself.

    Everyday you and I face situations in which we can make a decision to play it safe, or we can take a risk and trust our inner feelings and the little voice that knows.

    Yes, it's uncomfortable to trust in a feeling. There is no magic involved. It takes conscious effort and practice. The more we step out of our comfort zone the more we learn about ourselves and the stronger and more resilient we become. Have I reached this as a natural way of being? No, but I'm working on it, and I invite you to join me on this journey.

    Photograph: Wayne Levin

    Thought Challenge: When and where do you feel the most connected to your true self? In what ways do you play it safe? What are the costs of not believing in yourself? What is one thing that you can do to tap into your intuitive mind?