Never before have so many people been sick with stress, hatred and disloyalty at the hands of their day job. And it’s not their fault, with blame lying in the hands of leadership teams who pummel their workforce with number-specific targets and a toxic corporate culture that simultaneously destroys the business’ bottom line.
But is there a way to break this vicious circle? According to business and management guru, Sheryl Greentree, the answer is simple – allow employees to be themselves, treat them like humans and put a “heart” back in the company.
In her new book, ‘Every Company Needs a Heart and a Head for Business’, Greentree showcases a manifesto that will both skyrocket any business’ bottom line, as well as help to create a happy and prosperous corporate culture where people actually want to come to the office and work with gusto.
Imagine a world in which you go into work and you feel valued, empowered, supported, and treated like a human being. Imagine a world where you can be yourself, show true human emotions, and not feel like a square peg in a round hole. Where your boss inspires you, and you no longer feel stressed, tired, and dreading Monday mornings, but look forward to a happy and productive work life that supports your home life. Imagine a career path that rewards you on your contribution, supports you to be better every day, and allows you to collaborate with your peers, colleagues, and managers without fear of favour, competition, and even sabotage. Where you can enjoy leaving the workplace at the desired time, switch off your phone and e-mail, and forget about work, whilst enjoying your free time with your family and friends. Imagine working for an organisation that supports you having a family, young children, and these days, elderly parents who also need your care and attention.
Is this some distant utopia in a parallel universe? Today it does seem so, but it need not be!
All the statistics point to the benefits of any organisation having a happy, inspired workforce. Yet why is it that our current culture and paradigm for many businesses and organisations in the developed world is based on a macho, competitive, excessive environment? Why are executive stress and burnout the highest they have ever been?
Only recently, a scientific study from the University of York in the UK points out that individuals who are perfectionists can actually sabotage success, leading to stress, burnout, and potential health problems. Why are more individuals becoming more and more addicted to alcohol, prescription and illicit drugs, sex, and excessive spending in the pursuit of wealth and happiness than at any time in history? Why is the use of prescription medications for stress an epidemic on the rise? And why is workplace discrimination against women, age, race, and culture, whilst litigated against, still so rife and incredibly high?
This does not point to a happy, productive, and joyful society, and unfortunately, we are still worshiping individuals who achieve fame and wealth at any cost to humanity. Very rarely are we holding up a mirror to look not only at ourselves, but also at our companies, governments, and organisations until we all hit a crisis point.
The common thread seen through many current book titles is the focus on wealth, winning, high achievers, status created through money, work rules, military euphemisms, opponents, and even the female slant on successful women who juggle and balance their lives. Traditional capitalist models are promoted and measures of success are based upon market share growth, profit, and share/capital market values.
This is a time-tested measurement of success, but I ask you this question. What would the growth and value of organisations be if their employees and stakeholders were not stressed, but happy and productive? How much more successful would these organisations be if their people felt valued and were truly rewarded for their contribution?
What would their brand value and loyalty from customers be if they were measured on their social contribution, their ethical principles, and their impact on growth, rather than the destruction of the planet? How many measure their success based on employee retention, happiness and two-way contribution, no matter the age, gender, or race of the individual.
‘Every Company Needs a Heart and a Head for Business’ provides a simplistic reflection of current organisational and management styles, and looks at the damaging impact these can have on people, customers, reputation and, ultimately, on profit, potential, and the global neighbourhood. It challenges the disparity of the wealthiest and powerful, and provides thought-provoking solutions, examples, commissioned market research, and benefits as to why we should now change our approach and put our hearts within every organisation.
“It really is a vicious circle at the moment,” explains Greentree (pictured). “Leadership teams treat their workforce badly in the pursuit of higher profits, workers unsurprisingly feel belittled and underperform (or go off for months on end with stress), leading to managers piling on more negative pressure. The goal of this book is to show any company how they can halt this destructive cycle and build a workplace that prioritizes the health and happiness of its employees, a move that will also strengthen their balance sheet.”
Continuing, “Unhappy people are a major risk factor to any company’s success, and things won’t change until the leaders take decisive action. This book is their cylinder-firing starting block. It’s also going to be of huge interest to women leaders, for which I devote an entire chapter. Women are in the unique position of having to juggle their familial duties and their careers, often under the cloud of intentional or unintentional discrimination. I have some profound things to say, which are particularly important at a time when another woman could be about to make her way into Downing Street! and The White House.”