When you were a teenager, what did you do best? "Confusion" and "Rebellion" come to mind. And when you were growing up, who was your favorite villain? Your parents. Because they laid down unreasonable laws for reasons you did not understand, and then you got punished for questioning and/or not following them!
If you recognize your corporate experience in this description, that is not accidental. Our businesses, our management structure, and our ways of measuring human output exactly as we do that of a machine is a systemic structure to which we have learned to adapt.
The boss is the parent meting out either applause or punishment. This professional parent must be pleased or you will have your "allowance" lowered or you will be told to leave home. And speaking up? Well, only in very specific and well-crafted ways. And only in situations - and with people - which will bear the weight of your questioning.
How do we stop being professional children?
Leaders must recognize that they can challenge this structure, open up the channels of two-way co-creative communication, leave behind the Power-Over paradigm, and engage their ability to learn and grow in ways that are utterly unexpected.
Employees must recognize that they are adults in this structure, and find the courage to plan their growth as people and professionals so that as the numbers of questioners and adults grow, the system continues the change it has already begun to undergo.
My proof? Restaurants these days are having trouble finding staff. People are simply not applying. Why? Because they are being given financial assistance, finally, that allows them not to be underpaid and struggling to survive. Finally they do not have to be one of the children who are famously underpaid (health aides being another group of underpaid).
Those with means are complaining about the good fortune of the underpaid. "They're LAZY!" Which is insanity. Laziness isn't the issue at all. The issue is actually a powerful line of a Joni Mitchell song: "Who you gonna get to do the dirty work...when all the slaves are free."
Talent Optimization Specialist, Speaker, Consultant, Writer and Advocate for the Redefined Self-Image and Impact of Leadership, Women Leaders and Leadership Teams, Lori is the author of Call Center Crazy and The Human Solution: Human Solutions to Every "Unsolvable" Business Problem,
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Do you like the idea of breaking those social "should's" that have held you back for too long? Do you like the idea of successfully changing your modes of communication, your business structures, your self-image, and to your quality of life?
Lori Kirstein, Founder
The Goodbye Good Girl™ Project LLC
The Feminine Face of Business
Cincinnati, OH 45205
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