In the corporate world, diminishing the barriers of bureaucratic hierarchy is essential to create a more intimate work environment centered on collaboration and engagement.
“Collapsing rules that restrict people is the key to changing the outlook on relationships in the workplace.”
Changing the dynamics of relationships at the workplace from bosses and subordinates to equally valuable peers and diminishing the power rules will significantly impact how companies work, and ultimately impact society.
Society 2045 has an ongoing series of interviews with change-makers seeking to improve the way society works.
Society 2045 is a community of people from around the world seeking to co-discover a vision for the year 2045. The goal is to connect with leaders of emerging communities and movements across society and come together to co-create a better future.
In an interview with Harini Sreenivasan, we talked about the future of the corporate world. Professor Harini Sreenivasan is a seasoned human resources leader with expertise in all areas of HR across geographies including India, Europe, Middle East, Turkey, and APAC countries. Harini is a pharmaceutical scientist and a social activist.
Dealing with People
All business accomplishments are related to relationships. Business organizations must bring out peace and harmony in the workplace for a better future. It will create purpose and meaning to move forward with the vision to unite around goals. People should not just be power-hungry, instead should seek to break free of the hierarchical bureaucracy.
“Businesses are an expression of people’s goals, vision, and desire to fulfill a purpose.”
Striving for Better
Each person has a purpose in driving their work. There must be no rules to restrict an individual. Instead, we need to provide the tools to ease challenges that limit the ability to realize the vision and purpose of the organization.
When there are too many rules and restrictions, people are taught to follow instructions. People in such environments do not use get to fully utilize their knowledge and skills.
“Every individual is created with their own strength, thoughts, and learnings.”
There should be fewer rules and more tools to enable individuals to understand the meaning and purpose of life. The vision is to provide equipment to create one’s destiny to walk towards achieving collective goals, without constraints and rules.
The Power of Visualization
The optimistic view in business organizations must come about by visualization. The power distance and the hierarchy that operates in the business world should be reduced to the extent that we would stop having the relationship of employer and employee. Instead, we should focus on being called partners.
These changes will help balance work-life and reduce the stress and anxiety created in the workplace. Breaking the power barrier will help us unitedly work for the same purpose and towards the same goals without the need for force, or cohesion.
To debunk the hierarchical and power distance that is prevalent in most organizations is challenging. We do not only need to change ourselves, but we also need to change the people around us with the same thoughts.
“Debunking the command and controls organizational system needs to be a united effort.”
Therefore, we need to celebrate the small success stories that come our way. Success stories must bring out the progress to making someone’s life better. The changes must be continuously discussed and spread about far and wide.
Harini says, “It’s an endeavor to make you think differently so that you live those values. So, the mindset is to be changed to refrain from detrimental outcomes.”
The power hunger in spheres like academies and professional workplaces and the treatment of people as “human resources” or just workers under instructions, has built a power distance among individuals working together.
It is crucial to understand and validate that we are all adults working together trying to bring about changes by practicing transparency in our conversations.
We need to reduce the power distance and break the bureaucratic systems that has held us down for years. This change requires a united effort and gradual steps.
The pandemic can be cited as a positive outcome in reducing power distance. For instance, the new inventories of equipment and tools deployed during the pandemic have declined the power distance among business corporates, bringing radical changes to the hierarchical system in the bureaucracy.
People working from home can fully decide and drive the outcomes of their day. They can define their day by creating meaning and purpose on their terms.
The educational system must be changed to help the mindset of students before they set foot in the corporate world.
Fundamental change must be people’s mindset regarding their relationship to work. Psychological safety is of vital importance. The culture of psychological safety should be inculcated into the system to experiment without the fear of failure and consequence.
Manager roles need to change into being coaches to provide psychologically safe spaces. They must be mindful of the effects of their decisions on people, not just be transactional focused.
The reduction in restrictions at the workplace will help transform the workplace with motivated and confident partners. But, unfortunately, be it in organizations or at home, we face some constrain holding us back from bringing out the potential that we already have in ourselves.
We become the environment we associate with. A more open and collaborative environment creates more intimacy, teamwork, and a sense of shared purpose and vision.
Isn’t it time we start working as a team, instead of having limiting hierarchies that create distance and space between people?
“People want to be part of something with shared purpose, and treated as partners at work, instead of resources.”
Harini’s vision of a more collective team-oriented work environment with less rules and no hierarchies are groundbreaking. It will be amazing if we can achieve her vision in the coming years. Check out the interview here: