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  • Writer's pictureNancy Dering Mock


Updated: Sep 28, 2020

Leaders don't deliberately create work climates unfit for peak performance. They and most everyone in an organization wants a workplace that allows everyone to do his or her best work. So what happens?

Over time, the "human" part can get side-lined. Leaders and entrepreneurs can get distracted by the financial, technical and operational challenges of an enterprise and lose sight of the people. Or, they underestimate the potential of the people. Or, they chalk the "people" part as "soft," or worse yet, delegate it wholly to HR. Out of balance.

Add to this the dizzying array of laws and regulations for everything from hiring, pay, harassment, and just about every aspect of employment. Singly, there is nothing inherently wrong with any of these, but taken together, they can have a stultifying effect on how people are treated. Managers can feel paralyzed when the mantra is "stay out of trouble." If an organization becomes more more concerned with complying than with creating an environment where people can flourish, it shows. Again, out of balance.

So, one of the many challenges of contemporary leaders is balancing the goals, profit, shareholder value, and regulation with assuring an environment that draws out the very best of what it means to be human: creativity, collaboration, generosity and genuine respect and regard for each person. In my experience, the leaders who do this genuinely care about the people they work with. They really believe that their people deserve a workplace that dignifies human effort and they take that to heart. Balance.

Discussion/Reflection Questions:

  1. Have you observed the "human" part of organizations get sidelined? How did that happen?

  2. When "staying out of trouble" outweighs tapping into the best of what it means to be human, what happens?

  3. Have you worked with leaders who genuinely care(d) about others? Describe them.

  4. What are the implications of this "balance" for leaders? For you?

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