Catherine Ritchie

Be Kind Be Human

It’s as simple as being human.

After a week away from the internet in the sunshine of the south of France, I have a new sense of clarity. Being away from the distraction of technology allowed me to read more and spend more time with the ones I love. This really brought back into perspective how important human connection is, however ‘social’ social media is.

Upon my return to the internet world, I streamed the Do Lectures live as we trundled north from Avignon back to London. As I tuned in, I started listening to a talk by Tina Roth-Eisenberg (@swissmiss). Her honesty and truth about her experience really resonated with me.

In discussing her businesses, and her personal life, she discussed how her businesses were an extension of her and who she is. She talked about the darker times in her life where her businesses felt it too, again, because her businesses were an extension of her. She discussed this ripple effect because we are all human. We all feel things. This got me thinking – regardless of whether you’re the founder, the office manager or the cleaner, what we do every day is an extension of who we are.

In an interview she discussed how she had built an open, collaborative and honest space within her businesses. She wants people to feel as though they can turn up to work as their full selves even if they’re having a bad day. She believes the workplace should be a safe space where people are valued and considered.

Later in the interview, she was asked what one might do if this type of culture and philosophy has not been present from the beginning. She answered, “just be kind, just be human and care about the people you work with”.

In a presentation I delivered recently, I talked about employee engagement and how simple it can be. My main message to the organisation was ‘treat people as people’. We should all be able to find meaning in our day to day, and our organisations should help us be able to understand why show up to work every day. I discussed four key enablers: narrative, employee voice, engaging leaders and integrity.

Narrative – tell a story. Where you’ve been, where you are and where you aspire to be in the future.

Employee voice – listen honestly. Listen to what your people have to say and follow through.

Engaging leaders – treating people as human beings, not a resource. Acknowledging positive behaviours and addressing dysfunctional behaviours, engagement is just as much about learning as it is about celebrating success.

Integrity – be honest. Any gap between who you are and who you say you are will only create mistrust and ultimately disengagement.

If we spend on average a third of our lives at work – we should want to spend that time doing something meaningful. I believe it is the responsibility of the organisation and everybody in it to find meaning and help others find meaning. As Tina says, it’s as simple as “be kind, be human”.

Copyright Catherine Ritchie 2018