What happens when we don’t have opportunities for dialogue?

I have attended workshops which aimed to improve self-care and resiliency of employees of an organisation.

One of the main challenges highlighted by participants are lack of communication within team, colleague, and/or managers. Our society today encourages collaboration and teamwork. However, often organisations consist of employee lack of such interpersonal skills that become triggers of the stress.

Following are some examples of common statements/phrases in relation to interpersonal relationship.
I am doing everything right, why am I having this problem?
If we don’t have that person in the team…
If everyone can listen to me and doing it my way…
I will love my work if… my manager cares and listen to me…
If everyone can be more collaborative and share…
I am working in a toxic environment.

What’s lacking? Genuine human connection.
Having sincere heart to heart dialogue.
Having that courage to undertake open-heart dialogue.
Having courage to say ‘no’.
Get ready to challenge others and be challenged.

Without dialogue, humans are fated to walk in the darkness of their own dogmatic self-righteousness.

Dialogue is the lamp by which we dispel that darkness, lighting and making visible for each other our steps and the path ahead.

Daisaku Ikeda

‘Trust’ and ‘security’ were challenges identified in this organisation.
I have to protect my ideas. I have to protect myself. I have to protect my job.
Because people will pinch my ideas. Because people will say things behind my back. Because that person might be better than me. Because my manager like that person more than me.
Employees are constantly threatened about their being in this organisation. They felt insecure about their everyday at workplace.

Yes, there are choices in life. People can choose who to work with and where to work. However, if people feel like they don’t have such choice, what would they do? By this time, I would have asked millions of questions such as: Do I get out or do I continue? What will others think of me? How can I leave my supportive colleagues in such toxic situation by themselves? Am I going to ask them to suffer alone?
Obviously, more I think about, more I get confused. More I am confused, more I feel there’s no way out. I would be at dead-end, stacked.

Such situation reminds me of a suggestion given by my senior “Always prepare an emergency exit. It doesn’t mean you are going to use it or abuse using it. You know when you are truly stacked and can’t escape or feel like can’t do anything, there’s a way out if you choose to do so.” I remember it was quite new concept for me because I never been taught that way. I been told to keep striving, keep going, keep moving, keep fighting but no one told me how to give myself a time, a space to think about it.

Years later, my supervisor told me similar strategy. To buy myself time and space to breath. Managers and/or supervisors will pack you with the work, one after another. When you completed one task, they are ready to throw next one to you. They can’t afford you to have a lazy day so they surely will assign you with next task because they have their own target to be met. It is not that they want to pack you with work to burn you out. They just see you are capabile to do more. They see you have more capacity to achieve more. In turn, that will allow them to reach their target faster.

When you keep doing that for months or years, as according to the standard of your supervisor or manager, what will happen?
You will gradually lose time and space for yourself. You might have sacrificed your personal life to meet the deadlines. Your work is gradually but steadily interfered and invaded your personal life. By the time you realised, heavy workload on your shoulder, lost purpose to work, and don’t know how to get your life back. You might have risked it all you have and what would you get?

Work is a rubber ball.

If you drop it, it will bounce back.

The other four balls – family, health, friends, integrity – are made of glass.

If you drop one of these, it will be irrevocably scuffed, nicked, perhaps even shattered.

Gary Keller

Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.

Dolly Parton

There’s no such thing as work-life balance.

There are work-life choices, and you make them, and they have consequences.

Jack welch

What kind of life do you want to live?
What is preventing you from doing so?
Is that aligned with your values?

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