Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Is Anybody There? Does Anybody Care?

Have you ever felt that yours is a lone voice in the wilderness, crying out but not being heard, or if heard, not being listened to? As humans, we have a need to interact with others, to speak and be heard and listened to, and to listen and understand what is being said and to respond. Without such interactions, we feel alone and isolated, and this can be terribly frustrating and demoralizing. In the workplace we usually work as part of a team, but sometimes it is a team in name only, and meaningful interaction among the team members is minimal or non-existent. Such a situation should not be allowed to start or grow, for it can have negative consequences to the work of the team, and to the success of the company.

The title of this blog post comes from the musical play “1776”, which tells the story of the founding fathers leading to the drafting and signing of the Declaration of Independence. Most of the founding fathers are in Philadelphia discussing the situation with England. George Washington, however, is the General in the field sending back dispatches and urgent requests for help in manpower, supplies, and more, most of which have been unanswered or not acted upon. Washington perseveres, but in one of his messages he asks, “Is anybody there?  Does anybody care?” He feels alone and isolated from his ‘team’ and seeks their help, but gets no real acknowledgement or assistance.

Unfortunately, all too often, employees in the workplace feel the same way – that no-one hears them or listens, and no feedback is provided.  This is a dysfunctional situation that must be remedied (see Dysfunctional Families). Everyone contributes to make such a bad situation exist, and there are roles for everyone to play to reverse such a situation.