I’ve been binging on The Knowledge Project podcast. It’s described by Wired as: “a regular dose of insightful perspectives on life and success from a huge range of backgrounds and experiences.” The host, Shane Parrish, interviews guests about their insights in their field. While the podcasts tend to be lengthy, often around 90 minutes, they are often fascinating. Parrish is a great role model as an interviewer – relaxed, curious and asks questions that open up and carry the conversation forward.
There is always something I can apply in my personal or professional life in every episode. Today I listed to Episode 62 – Cracking the code of Love with Dr Sue Johnson. I enjoyed her matter of fact approach to topics that are covered in sensationalist, unhelpful ways in most media. I also love her enthusiastic, animated style and big laugh.
You’d think an episode on the topic of love wouldn’t be relevant in the professional life (assuming you’ve not made the tricky choice to mix the two). However, the key takeaway for me is relevant to all relationships and interactions with others – including in the workplace and other professional settings.
“Emotional isolation is traumatising for human beings.”
“Distressed relationships are always the same all over the world at every age. Where are you? Where are you? Do you care about me? Do I matter to you?”
We all want to be acknowledged, to be seen, to be heard. We want to matter. The applies to all environments and settings that we find ourselves in.
To be ignored and isolated in the workplace is distressing. I spoke about this in a video I made in 2016 as part of a ’30 Day Brainstorm Challenge’ I participated in. I titled the video ’The Need to Be Heard’ and discussed how I found myself on the ‘wrong end’ of a stakeholder relationship on a project. A decision had been made on implementation of a new system which had implications for my team and required us to do work as part of system rollout. We had not been consulted about this change. During a meeting with key people on the project I realised that while the decision would not be reversed I felt a strong need to be heard. The lack of consultation made me feel disrespected. I acted reasonably in how I approached the situation and my request for involvement in the project from that point forward. However, my concerns were pushed aside and I was actually directed by a senior leader to have no contact whatsoever with the project manager and change manager as they were too busy implementing the project.
The message this incident sent to me was that I didn’t matter. My team didn’t matter. I wasn’t important.
It was distressing. On the positive side, it was a great example of how not to treat others if you want to build positive relationships – in professional or personal life.