The definition of “professional” often is interpreted to mean – deadpan, serious, somber, lifeless, stoic, static, “dressed to the hilt” and should there be a show of emotion in any way, then wow, that’s a real “unprofessional” way to behave. If there is ever the mention of words such as “fun”, “laughter”, “play” – oh, my – you’d think it was criminal to utter such words.
Bunk!!! It’s all bunk! And it leads to a lack of productivity. People become so concerned with being “professional”, they are always looking over their shoulder to gauge the reaction of those around them.
People are not robots, they are people – first and foremost – though you’d never know it in some cases by the way they are treated! All people in a job need to feel feelings other than numb and they need to be able to express those feelings without the fear of being sacked every time they say something “the boss doesn’t like”.
How this obssession with so-called “professional” comes about is through the insecurities of the leadership. These so-called leaders are so insecure in their leadership abilit, they think they must “control” everything and everyone. I’m not talking about their degrees here – MBA, PHD or whatever other letters they file behind their names
I’m talking about leadership. A person who is a leader knows full well that you cannot control anything or anyone but you can manage people and the work environment – big difference in attitude!
If a leader is secure in their leadership role, they create an atmosphere where people thrive. In fact, a real leader encourages opposite points of view, expressions of emotion (with respect for all), opinions (constructive) and sharing. Such a leader encourages laughter, fun, play, good solid debate, recognition of wonderful events in people’s lives such as their birthday, an anniversary, the birth of a baby. They also understand that humans do not have the same disposition every single day, day after day. Things happen in people’s lives and sometimes there are outbursts or tears or sadness. It’s a time for a leader to understand not reprimand.
Scrooge – remember Scrooge – well, he’s alive and well in many businesses nowadays – the worse side of Scrooge – the one we see at the beginning of the movie.
Remember when the spirit takes Scrooge to see a former employer’s place of employment and the joy and happiness Scrooge felt reminiscing about his first job. The boss was always happy and encouraged happiness in the workplace. Was that “unprofessional”? And the critics would say, “Yes, but look what happened in the end”. What happened in the end was unscrupulous business practices by certain individuals – don’t mistake that with success in the workplace on a human level – the businessman was highly successful with lots of employees before being ravaged by the “vultures”.
Think about the end of Scrooge’s story and how happy we all feel with how he treats Bob Crachet with dignity and a smile (oh, yes, and the raise). Think how good that makes everyone feel! That’s why we watch that movie year after year and it remains a classic – Scrooge continued to be a successful businessman after his transformation and yet gained the most important thing of all – admiration and connection with humanity! A soul!
The definition of success in business should include both components – making profits and having a soul! The reduction in stress levels and waste of time would be enormous!
There is much to be learned from Scrooge.
I can tell you from experience, that increasing productivity in the workplace means to engage and engage means getting rid of words in the work environment such as “professional”, “unprofessional”, “insubordination”, “obey”, “do as I say”, “I’m the boss here and I give the orders”, “I’m the manager and I know everything there is to know about this place”, “Don’t raise your voice at me. I’m the boss”, “Who are you to give suggestions” and….. so on.
Instead, add in words such as:
- “Thank you. That’s a great suggestion”. Let’s talk about it”
- “We have a different point of view. Let’s debate the pros and cons of each one.”
- “Thank you”
- “We each have a job to do and we’re all in it together – if we succeed working together, we get to keep our jobs.”
- “It’s okay to get passionate about your point of view – I get it – I understand we raise our voices when we get excited; it’s okay”
- “Let’s respect and honor each other as human beings first”
- “Let’s work together”,
- “Congratulations on your new baby – got you a little something and we’ll celebrate this afternoon”,
- “Happy Birthday – some flowers for you, a card signed by everyone and we’ll have cake with coffee break”,
- “I may be the boss but it’s only a job description just like yours. Let’s talk and solve these problems together”.
Wouldn’t the workplace be a different place and maybe the 80% of people who do not feel passionate about their jobs would gain pride and joy in their work and workplace. Imagine, spending 8 or more hours every day, 5 days a week, year after year after year – not being passionate about where you are and what you do! Can you imagine if everyone would show up ready to play at making the business a success! How would that change the way people see their role? After all, that’s what business is – a game – try this strategy and that strategy and yet another – to win!
People are more productive when they feel appreciated, listened to, involved and they are afforded the dignity of their being. And, as humans, productivity goes up when people are happy, when they know they are supported and they feel joy – when they can play! Play in the workplace is multi-dimensional – as a leader, do you have enough savvy to pull it off?
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