I think that we need to find a way to bring more emotion back to work with us. This is another of leading less and managing more and I think that it is very costly to us. Fact is, we have come to value politeness, calm and the myth of order over the truth. And the truth is messy. And the truth is emotional. And you can’t manage the truth…although our elected leaders love to try. The truth demands leadership.
This focus on calm and polite turns us into soulless zombies or raging passive-aggressives, because we are emotional beings, and when we can’t bring that to work our work, something has to break.
We need more fist shaking.
I am not talking about having a vicious, hyper-competitive, dysfunctional culture at work, but a truly functional, healthy and authentic culture. A culture that values the truth. A culture that wants its employees to bring their whole selves to their work. There is a great deal of value in healthy, creative tension…although we may need to re-learn some communication skills if we are going to spend time in that space. That is a space where a lot of opportunity for competitive advantage lives, because it is full of better ideas, bigger questions, creative approaches and the future.
Necessity may be the mother of invention, but frustration is the father. Frustration is under-appreciated, as a source of great value and as an indication of engagement. If companies want robots in their cubicles then they should go buy robots. If they want people, then they should expect and encourage some healthy fist shaking.