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Is Being More Human at Work Really Unprofessional? I remember being a mother for the first time and returning to my corporate office. I had left my little baby behind and I was worried for her well-being. I thought about her being alone in that day care and having all the feels first-time mothers experience. Every time my baby coughed or had a runny nose, I would lose sleep worrying about asking my boss for a day off to take care of her. It was ok once. It was somewhat ok the second time but by the third time, I was asked to choose between being a mother or an employee. 

That was back in 2008 and it’s hard to imagine that flying today. Our world has changed (a bit) but at that time it sent a clear message that you do NOT bring your personal stuff to work- it was “just business- nothing personal.”

So, this got me to thinking- how often are our feelings hurt in meetings and later we’re told – don’t take it personally- it’s just business? 

The notion that humans should separate emotions from their work life is bizarre. When we are asked to do this, it creates a toxic environment where managers and leaders learn to be detached from their employees’ feelings and who they are as human beings. When you start treating people as a resource to achieve the company agenda and priorities, people stop caring personally. 

What’s the cost of being more human at work?

  • These environments cause employees to stop caring about going above and beyond- they will do the minimum expected to keep their jobs
  • They stop caring about their colleagues, engagements, and being committed to their company
  • Those employees will not take a risk for a “jerk” boss
  • There is a lack of innovation because innovation requires security and safety.  If employees worry about being fired when they take a sick day- cross innovation right off!

But most importantly, they stop trusting you as their LEADER. How can we trust somebody who says it’s not personal- just business?

The new generation of Managers care personally. They actually care about people on their team doing what they love. They care about their career growth. They care when their parents are dying or if they ask you to use a different pronoun that makes them feel more included, and most of all, when people care personally – they will do their BEST to be the best. 

So, please start caring. We can’t leave parts of our lives and hearts at home and still show up fully at work. 

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