How to bring back wholeness to work
When organisations enter the “teal stage of consciousness” * the people experience a deep yearning for wholeness – to learn to be fully independent and true to ourselves. They search for wholeness.
Hiding behind the mask of professionalism
Looking around in organisations, you’ll notice that we’re used to showing up with our professional self only. For some, it’s even imperative to have a “work” personality and a “private” personality – as if we could split off parts of us and leave them at home.
We act driven by our fearful egos – eager to be perceived as successful, smart, a leader, and often afraid of being judged, of not being appreciated and acknowledged, of lacking control, of not performing (enough), of being uncomfortable, etc.. And we end up establishing competitive work cultures in which we strive to outperform others and get more than them.
We value masculine qualities such as determination, strength and rationality. We celebrate profit, speed, getting things done, and striving for career advancement.
Where has this led us by now?
Missing connection with ourselves and others
Whilst acting as described above, many of us start to experience a kind of emptiness in modern life. We deeply miss being true to ourselves, being part of something bigger, and feeling connected with the world around us. We allow our busy egos to silence the voice of our souls. Whilst our culture celebrates the rational intellect and idolises masculine qualities, our bodies, souls, spirits, and feminine qualities are disregarded. We’ve lost the feeling for community and the connection with nature.
As soon as we realise this state we start to long for wholeness – being reconnected with our whole being, being connected with the people around us, all other forms of life and nature. And we don’t want to be whole only at home but at work too.
How can we bring wholeness back to the workplace?
Allowing yourself to take off your mask
Taking off the mask and going for wholeness involves:
- bringing together the ego and the deeper parts of the self
- integrating mind, body, and soul
- cultivating both the feminine and masculine parts within
- being whole in relation to others
- repairing our broken relationship with life and nature
Where can you start now to invite more wholeness at work?
Taking the first steps to bring back wholeness
- Get a feeling of wholeness
Start with gaining clarity on what wholeness means to you and how it looks like when acting at work.
Remember a moment where you have been yourself at work – nothing hiding, fully welcome, feeling safe to be yourself. What has been special to this moment compared to others where you’ve kept your mask on? What would be one tiny thing you could do to create, invite, make possible one more of such moments at work?
- Invite wholeness in 1:1 conversations
Next step is to invite wholeness when talking to someone at work. You probably know these conversations where no argument finds its place. The discussion goes round in circles. And suddenly you notice that you’re closing down and your counterpart as well. Now stop talking about the content. Don’t pretend to have a rational conversation anymore. Instead start to talk about what’s really happening in this moment, why you’re closing down. Reflect what you feel yourself and what the other one is feeling, e.g. by saying “I sense that I’m closing down now. Because I feel not being heard or that my argument doesn’t sit with you.” And “I sense some frustration in what you say, that you’re tired, stressed, worried. This is how you come across to me.” What was sort of hidden is now being said. This gives space to open up on both sides and have a real conversation leading to results serving both parties. Watch the full video by Frederic Laloux on how to invite wholeness in one-on-one conversations.
- Create a safe and supportive environment
Next you can work on changing the culture in your team. To invite all of who we are to show up, we need to create safe and caring spaces at work.
Remember a moment at work where you experienced a safe space where everyone could show up with their whole being. What had made this possible? Think of the behaviour, words and attitudes of involved people, think of characteristics of the setting. Which of these could you repeat to create more of these moments within your team?
- Have encouraging performance appraisals
Go further with changing the awkward feelings on both sides, manager and employee, when it comes to the yearly performance appraisal. The aim of this instrument is to get an objective snapshot of the employee’s performance. Because many other things depend on the outcome directly or indirectly (think of bonuses, pay rise, promotion, projects), we end up having unnatural, discouraging meetings driven by fear, reservation, need to prove, etc.
Imagine to go into your next performance appraisal with sincere interest and genuine appreciation for the other – whether you’re the manager or the employee. Focus the conversation on what’s going well and on the areas where the knowledge, experience, talents, or mindset of the employee not yet fulfill the role. Use deeper questions such as “What do I really want to do? What is my gift to the world? What are my unique talents? What holds me back? What could help me to show more courage?”
How are you bringing back wholeness to work? Need help with this? Our Azkua team awaits your email or call. Contact us now!
Dagmar Hopf | Guest author and Azkua Network Partner
* Learn more about wholeness, purpose-driven business, self-management, and how to reinvent organisations.