Today I had the pleasure of guest blogging on Elephant Journal, the site devoted to mindful living. In my article I discuss the importance of being intentional about considering others’ humanity in the workplace. I encourage you to read the article, and if you enjoy it, please comment and share it with others!
Before I was a management consultant, I had an embarrassingly one-dimensional view of CEOs. Because my only dealings with them were via the media, I thought of them as money-hungry tyrants who derived pleasure from doling out misery to others (think Montgomery Burns or Miranda Priestly from “The Devil Wears Prada”). It wasn’t until I became a corporate psychologist and regularly met with senior executives that I appreciated the immense pressure they were under, and the sense of responsibility most of them felt for their employees. I learned about their hopes, dreams, and insecurities. In other words, I started to see them as people.
I’m not the only one who has gotten sucked into seeing others as objects. I have spoken to medical professionals who have unwittingly become desensitized to patients, seeing them more as “cases” than frightened individuals in need.
I have seen employees afraid to speak to their bosses about personal issues because they had decided it was impossible for a senior person to relate to their situation. I have also felt like an object when going to the DMV, receiving a condescending reply in response to an innocent question.
As humans, we are prone to putting people into categories. It gives us a mental shorthand that makes navigating our complex environments easier.
Seeing others as individuals requires mindfulness and a continued awareness of our commonalities.
To continue reading the article, click here.