If you accept that the real purpose of any business is human wellbeing, then what does this mean for those who work in an organisation? Or to put it another way – what is human wellbeing at work?
I think one of the most important elements of wellbeing is growth. We all have an inbuilt desire to grow and given the right conditions we flourish and strive to become more. We keep on striving because there is always more for us to become.
When someone takes the risk of showing what they are capable of and makes their contribution to the world, I can’t help feeling delighted for them. If I have had a part in helping them take that step it feels even better. This delight in watching others grow might go some way to explaining why shows like the X Factor are such a success.
So what does this mean for Conscious Leaders? – How can leaders serve our wellbeing and bring benefit for all to the work place?
To help answer this question let me use the analogy of a tree growing to maturity.
If the sapling is lucky enough to be planted in good soil, with plenty of water and light then it will grow as nature intended. We may protect the young sapling with a stake to support it against the wind – but the stake is simply a guide not a means of control. In time the tree develops its own strength and bears fruit for all to share. These days we value the trees that make it to old age by putting preservation orders on them.
Contrast this with the tree in an apple orchard. The apple tree sapling is also planted in good soil and carefully fed and watered. It is has probably been bred over several generations to bear fruit prodigiously. The trees are planted in rows and pruned to maximise fruit production. The trees are undoubtedly healthy but they are also managed and controlled.
Which tree would you rather be?
I know this is a simplistic question and life is not so simple. If we didn’t have well-ordered production and manufacturing we wouldn’t have the food and machines we need to live as we do – and yet I wonder what the work place would be like with a little less control – with a bit more freedom for people to grow as nature intended.
For a Conscious Leader this might mean
- Giving more autonomy to those who follow and making fewer decisions for them
- Encouraging initiative and having the confidence to control less
- Listening to others and understanding what they really need from you
Allowing others to grow as they intend rather than training them as you intend involves taking a risk. You might get far more than you imagined and you might not.
My challenge to you is to engage with the true purpose of business which is human wellbeing. I hope you will delight in the magnificence of fully mature human beings and be less enamoured with the healthy but managed alternative.