Habitats for Humans

It’s critical that we see organizations as habitats for human beings.

It was while reading Parker Palmer’s The Courage to Teach that I stumbled across the preceding statement.

That idea, as simple as it sounds, could alter the trajectory of an organization’s culture if applied appropriately. Organizations need to view their workplaces in that way–as environments where their employees are literally living a huge chunk of their lives. Employees are humans; not simply round pegs that fit into holes in our departments.

Leaders have to view their work differently too. It’s not just about projects and products, though that’s certainly part of it. Leadership becomes increasingly human. It’s about serving people and helping them grow and develop–helping them become more appropriately human.

I’ve said it before, but really, we have to intentionally think differently about our respective workplaces. Most of us spend the bulk of our waking hours at work, so our organizations are literally habitats for human beings. They’re places where clumps of humans come every day to not only work, but live.

Our organizations can then be focused on not only generating revenue and producing widgets, but also making at least that piece of their employees’ lives better. Working isn’t just work, it’s part of living life.

 

 

11 comments

  1. David Sparks says:

    It all boils down to an organizations view of leadership. What do they believe in? Do they believe in servant leadership? Do they demonstrate it? Is that behavior rewarded and encouraged? The profits and widgets would be much better with the attitude you’re describing.

  2. Matt – you’ve hit the nail on the head. We spend more hours here than we do with our spouses or kids at times. Simply shifting the point of view to this issue could make a huge difference.

    • Matt Monge says:

      Thanks. And you’re right–I can’t imagine the difference you’d see in some workplaces if we all actually considered what a huge responsibility and privilege it is to play even a small part in the life and development of others.

  3. [...] to integrate doing good into your organization’s way of life? Organizations are literally habitats for humans, after [...]

  4. [...] seems that the more we, within the context of organizations and relationships, can be more appropriately human, the more healthy and functional those organizations and relationships will be. It seems overly [...]

  5. [...] seems that the more we, within the context of organizations and relationships, can be more appropriately human, the more healthy and functional those organizations and relationships will be. It seems overly [...]

  6. [...] The only way that happens, though, is if leaders understand they’re not perfect, are vulnerable themselves, and intentionally make it safe enough for their teammates to do the same. It becomes safe for them to become more appropriately human. Then the office continues to inch closer to being a habitat for humans. [...]

  7. [...] The only way that happens, though, is if leaders understand they’re not perfect, are vulnerable themselves, and intentionally make it safe enough for their teammates to do the same. It becomes safe for them to become more appropriately human. Then the office continues to inch closer to being a habitat for humans. [...]

  8. [...] that makes it possible. We need to be self-aware, embrace a bit of humility, and appreciate the beautiful, amazing mess of humans around us, and be thankful to be counted among [...]

  9. [...] they’re largely missing. As leaders, we’ve got to create environments where people can explore who they are and become the person they’re meant to [...]

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