C@W: In Times of Uncertainty

By Vanessa F. Hurst

Whether it is a missed deadline, financial constraints, or conflict among individuals in the workplace, the way leadership responds or reacts to the situation is an indicator of the level of compassion in the organization’s culture. Transparency, honesty, and collaboration unite to create the space to weather difficulties and strengthen compassionate presence.

When deadlines are missed, a cascade of potential problems results. When another crisis looms or conflicts ignite, hiding what is occurring creates an atmosphere of gossip run amuck and rumor mongering. Since no one actually knows what is happening, there is much supposition and worst case scenarios creatively surface. Fears increase and the cycle of exacerbated suppositions about the unknowns continue. The workplace has the potential to become conflicted and paralyzed.

When leaders honestly share what is stymying productivity, all employees are empowered as a group to resolve problems creatively. Sharing all currently known facts is the spring broad. It creates an environment where brainstorming is an adventure grounded in reality and sprinkled with the potential to reach for the stars of creative resolution. Transparency creates the open door through which all are invited to participate.

Collaboration is based on the premise that not one elite group of individuals holds definitive answers. Rather, collaboration encourages all who are impacted to take ownership and to actively co-create the solution. The belief that anyone person in the workplace has the potential to surface seeds of resolution is present. Collaboration is dynamic and flexible and often the hierarchical component is greatly minimized. The collective consciousness is recognized and respected.

Through the collective consciousness of the group, all members acknowledge and follow the same mission and adhere to the same set of values. The connections within a community are energized and strengthened. Decisions made that impact the group and individuals within become less personal.

Although one or more workers may be impacted by a decision; the decision is made for the greater good. Acknowledgment of how it may negatively impact some member is made. But, this is a collective decision. Transparency within collaboration gives clarity and understanding to the “whys” of a decision.

Compassion-centric workplaces are built through relationships. Strong, interpersonal connections are elementary to weathering conflict and crisis. Transparency, honesty, and collaboration are key to making decisions, articulating them to the group at large, and having them understood by those individuals within the workforce. No matter how difficult the decision, there is a respect fostered.

Times of uncertainty may not be changed, but the response to these times can change a workplace. Compassionate response strengthens connections and increases ownership of all stakeholders.

Vanessa F. Hurst is a community builder who works with organizations to identify compassion aspects of their culture and to create a collaborative environment. She consults with organizations to strengthen relationships with current stakeholders and invites new stakeholders to the community. For more about Vanessa.