A Sense of Community in the Workplace

Much of what we believe about management has its roots in the Industrial Revolution. The concept of the organization as a “well-oiled machine” with a rigid, almost military hierarchy, is leftover from a time when jobs were simple, repetitive, and mindless.

In fact, organizations of 100 years ago mimicked machines… and many still do. The manager sits at the top, pulling levers to cause specific actions. The employees become replaceable parts, fueled to do repetitive tasks with ever-greater efficiency.

Today, in the light-speed digital age, anything mindless and repetitive is already done by a machine, or soon will be. You need people to contribute critical thinking, creativity, and judgement to your business.

This is best accomplished by dropping the machine metaphor and viewing your company as a community of individuals.

While the community has a purpose of its own, it is supported by a foundation of people, each with their own unique hopes and dreams.

Creating a sense of community in your workplace is essential to satisfying two basic employee needs I described in the first article: belonging and recognition.

I’m sure you’re thinking, “This is great theory, but how do I create community in my workplace?”

First, you must discard the myth that the needs of corporation are greater than the needs of the individual.

I know, this is heresy by Industrial Revolution standards. But we all instinctively know it’s true.

Saying it out loud — and displaying it through your company’s behavior — has an almost magical effect: it allows your employees to shed their “you versus me” thinking and embrace the purpose of the company.  By recognizing them as individuals, they will know their needs are, to at least some degree, important to their employer, as well as themselves.

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