Posted by: healingtheworkplace | February 12, 2008

Why Do Our Workplaces Need Healing?

Hello and welcome to my blog! I am writing this blog to create a dialogue on the 21st century workplace. What’s happening out there in the world of work? I hear a lot about unhealthy workplaces. What can we do to make them healthy?  I know that there are many GREAT places to work in this world and I would love to hear from those of you blessed enough to work in one of these organizations.


My hunch is that small or medium business/organizations (SMB) find it easier to create work environments that engage people and nurture their souls. You only have to look at the list of the TOP 50 GREATPLACES to WORK in Canada to see that most of them are SMBs.

Few large organizations are able to provide this kind of workplace (more about this later). So, what am I talking about here??? Healthy workplaces that nurture people’s souls are workplaces with the following charateristics:

  • great leadership (more, much more, about this later)
  • shared leadership
  • teamwork
  • values such as respect, integrity, learning, community, creativity, caring are the norm
  • learning is valued and supported
  • communication

I am aware that within many large organizations there are individual departments or teams that are able to create something unique but this often depends on a number of variables–most often it depends on who the leader is and who the leader has on his or her team.

What I will refer to as “progressive leaders” are those rare (did I say that?) individuals who have done their own developmental work and are open to learning. By developmental work I mean tuning inward and reflecting on their strengths, weaknesses, values, beliefs, etc. These “rare” leaders make great bosses because they understand their own needs and the needs of the people they are leading. AND they don’t let their EGOS get in the way.

Some of you will know right away what this is all about…having worked, or are currently working (my sympathy) in a “toxic” or unhealthy workplace. But some of you…may not have had the pleasure of working in this kind of environment and are wondering “what is she talking about”? Good question. What exactly is an unhealthy workplace and more importantly perhaps, can anything be done to make a sick workplace healthy again? That’s the challenge.

We know that people can be unhealthy, trees can be unhealthy and even our pets can be unhealthy, but these are all living, breathing, entities. A workplace is a different kettle of fish…to mix a metaphor.

But a workplace, while not alive in the same sense, is a dynamic, changing, entity that can be either healthy or unhealthy for the people who work in it.  I should know…I’ve worked in both.

According to psychotherapist, Jean McLendon, “all human systems have personalities, developmental life stages, relationships, resources, characters, values and means of self-perpetution.”  Jean is referring to organizations as human systems.

Well, that’s it for this post. Check back later in the week…Lesley



  1. Nice to find your blog, Lesley. Exactly what I am searching for recently.

    Instead of waiting for the “leaders” to change the workplaces for us, I am thinking how we, individual employee, can drive changes in our workplaces to make it healthier and a better place for us.

    I will visit your blog whenever you have a new post. Nice to hear all the wisdoms from you!

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