Why your performance process isn’t helping peoples wellbeing, and what to do about it
When it comes to managing performance and creating a healthy culture there is often a key flaw in the approach…..
At the core of each of us is our “essence” – the “essence” of who we are.
Layered around that is our innate gifts and talents.
In the third layer, we have our beliefs, values, fears, insecurities, guilt and shame, as well as any emotional pain – all of which is heavily influenced by our conditioning, which also sits in this layer.
Fourth is composed of learnt and conditioning behaviours – lying, controlling, running, the seeking of approval and validation, the seeking of power etc etc.
It is worth noting at this point that any inherently good behaviours and ways of being such as compassion, kindness and tolerance emanate directly from the inner core, as well as being positioned here.
The final and fifth ring is the image this person seeks to present to the world – it is a crafted image to manage and control the perception of others – it is – you might say – the first line of defence and protection.
Now – the key focus for us here is on any unhealthy aspects of these layers – which comprises most of the third and fourth layers and all of the fifth.
Enter the workplace:
The reality is, in most workplaces, in most approaches to performance, and in most relationships, the predominant paradigm is based on the premise that “I am my behaviours/fears/insecurities etc” – it is therefore predominantly concerned with behaviour management – it is focused on managing the symptoms of the unhealthy and accepting the predominant status quo.
And this is why, as good as pulse surveys, and bite-sized reviews are – the best one is doing is moving the deck chairs – because the fundamental paradigm of the approach remains the same.
By operating in this paradigm we mostly perpetuate those unhealthy relationships and unhealthy behaviours.
Therefore, if you want the workplace to be one in which it supports healthy relationships then you need to shift into the paradigm that operates on the premise that “I am not my behaviours/fears/insecurities etc” – because you aren’t.
You need to completely redesign your approach to managing people, you need to help them to learn enough about themselves that they can start making new, healthier choices, and you need to give them tools to help them dissolve the unhealthy and replace with the healthy.
The very way in which you work, communicate and understand yourselves and others need to change.
As you make the shift into this new paradigm you start to learn more about each other, you begin to learn more about behaviours, and how to deal with unhealthy behaviours in a healthy and productive way, you learn how to communicate differently, to enable you to be direct while also being sensitive and understanding of what lies beneath any unhealthy behaviours.
Let’s now consider the important link between the impact on the business and the impact personally on an individual:
Part of the reason that the average workplace operates under the paradigm of “I am my behaviours/fears/insecurities” is that – that’s what the average person believes of themselves.
Part consciously, and part not – and believe it or not we can often carry a huge amount of guilt for “being this way” – this guilt can sometimes be recognised and sometimes it is quite deeply hidden in the sub-conscious – but like ink in the water, it will colour the relationship we have with ourselves and others.
This guilt, and any accompanying shame, manifests as wanting to hide who we are – lest someone “find out” who we “really are” – some will be able to consciously identify this, others not so. It is the primary reason the fifth layer exists.
It’s basically a trap.
And so – in the process of building a more authentic workplace, as we shift to the paradigm of “I am not my behaviours/fears/insecurities” over time, we can begin to develop a more authentic relationship with ourselves and others – this can take time and sometimes be unnerving – after all – if this isn’t “who I am” then “who am I?” – once past the initial discomfort it can be quite liberating finding out more about ourselves and developing that more authentic relationship.
And here is the rub….
The more in touch we are with who we really are, the true us, as we drop some of those unhealthy behaviours, fears, beliefs etc – we can discover that – there isn’t much more we need to be happy but an authentic, felt relationship with ourselves – to have an almost intimate relationship with oneself – without shame – without guilt – without needing to hide or lie, without having to be someone we are not, without needing to control others, without needing power, but to strip that away and be left with – oneself – and – to have a healthy, even joyful relationship with who that is.
It turns out, all we really need to be happy is an honest, trusted, open, and healthy relationship with ourselves – who knew.
And naturally we perform better, have less conflict in our lives, are more understanding and compassionate towards others, are more responsible, more toleratnt, less angry and agressive – less afraid – and so on and so on….
This is the shift we all need to make, in the workplace and in our own lives – but while we operate in the old paradigmn we are left only with managing the sypmtoms.
It’s time to go a different way…