your whole self –
how spirituality makes for a better workplace
Dan says: It was tough to come to work some days, not because I was unhappy in my work, it was more so the overall atmosphere among my team. There was little enthusiasm and people just wanted to keep to themselves. I, like many of my co-workers, would sometimes get discouraged and feel unfulfilled and incomplete. On top of all this, the boss was on our backs because there had been complaints about the quality of our work. It’s tough to motivate employees when there is little sense of purpose. Often, we felt like we were treated as tools rather than people. I wanted to change this atmosphere but wasn’t sure how.
One day, I happened to mention to a co-worker that I’m a religious education teacher at my church and she revealed that she was a practicing Christian as well. Someone else overheard us talking one day and joined in the discussion because he’d been questioning his faith. A number of us now get together regularly to share our faith and support one another. The whole atmosphere is much more positive; even for those who aren’t directly involved in our discussions. There is a greater sense of fellowship and purpose; we believe that we were brought together for a reason. This change in attitude has also improved the quality of our work, and thus made our boss’ job much easier.
The expert says: In their book, A Spiritual Audit of Corporate America, Dr. Ian Mitroff and Elizabeth Denton surveyed employees to discover how spirituality impacts their sense of self in the workplace. They found that, in many cases, people believe that the lack of spirituality at work significantly diminishes their sense of wholeness in life. One of their key findings revealed that people do not want to compartmentalize or fragment their lives. Mitroff and Denton conclude:
“Unless organizations become more spiritual, they cannot reap the benefits of the full and deep engagement of their employees, their so-called most valuable resource.” (p. 7)
Dan, his co-workers and his boss discovered this truth. It is becoming more and more apparent that spirituality cannot be separated from who we are as humans. A sense of wholeness (holiness) is critical to being productive in whatever we do. I’m not suggesting that you run out and begin preaching at work, but you do need to leave yourself open to and be aware of the other “seekers.” When you find one, you’ll find two, and before you know it, you’ll be amazed at how we begin to come out of the woodwork. – Tim Ryan
Work Life for April is sponsored by Chris Thompson, Certified Financial Planner, Merrill Lynch. Call 1-800-937-0268 or Christopher_Thompson@ml.com.