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The Danger of showing our true selves at work. - Part 3

by Margaret Bell | August 26, 2019

Getting Things Done

We are doers. We are proactive, we are go-getters, and we are results-driven. We are all of these things and more, and if we are not?

Then we sink. It's as simple as that.

It's difficult to argue with the fact that we are in a productivity-obsessed working culture. Every day, we are bombarded with proofs and demonstrations of great things our peers have achieved, and we are deluged by productivity apps and other quick fixes aimed at making us into better, more valuable co-workers, friends, family members, even just people.

This is manifested in the way we perceive our colleagues, too. As many as 25% of respondents to a recent survey said that poor work ethics were their main factors behind feelings of frustration and anger to colleagues. That's one in four people who think their colleagues are not productive enough -- are not "getting things done." No wonder the pressure is on.

Maybe this is a good thing. Maybe this is going to push the next generation of Australian business owners and "movers and shakes" to the next level. Maybe this is just what our country needs, and our economy to boot. 

Or maybe not. Maybe this is just creating a culture of anxiety and upset at work. Another survey, this time conducted by the Australian Psychological Society in 2018, found that 26% of Australians describe their levels of depression as moderate to extremely severe. The same figure reported similar levels of anxiety. It seems likely that this increased pressure to "get things done" is contributing to this situation, and, if not, at the very least, it is doing nothing to help it. 

Over the last few posts, in Part 1 and Part 2, we've been looking at the danger of letting our true selves show in the workplace. This is in response to an interview conducted between collaborative intelligence app founder, Simon Confino, and author Frederic Laloux. In this third segment, we are confronting this idea of productivity, and the related stresses, head-on. This is what Frederic Laloux had to say;

"We are hardwired to be productive and put our lives to good use, to serve and create," he says. "It is therefore depressing to be part of a dysfunctional team which struggles to get things done. Conversely, it is a joy to be part of a team with high levels of collaboration and productivity."

Perhaps, rather than being paranoid and antagonistic to each other -- and maybe rather than running ourselves into the ground with work-related pressure, and stifling our true selves -- we should cut ourselves, and others, a bit of slack. It is only with this approach that we can tap into that free-flowing creativity and collaboration all of us place in such high esteem.

Margaret Bell, AM - Founder and CEO of Chain Reaction Foundation.

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