“ It is one of the great paradoxes of the Human Condition - we ask some variation of the question, “How are you feeling?” Over and over, which would lead us to assume that we attach some importance to it yet we never expect or desire or provide an honest answer.”
- Marc Brackett
One of the common reasons an employee leaves a company is because they are unsatisfied with management. This is such a broad and nebulous word - unsatisfied. What leads to this dissatisfaction? What does it entail?
The word “satisfied” is defined as a state of being contented or pleased. The circumstances which lead to this dissatisfaction can be numerous, but all these roads lead to the same place. Employees have a negatively charged feeling that they associate with their place of work and team. They dread waking up and going to a place where they will feel a host of negative emotions. Even if that place is the desk in their home office or the coffee shop down the street.
The core concept here is the feeling associated with work. At Consciously Exposed Consulting, much of our work is focused on getting the leaders and decision-makers in organizations to take action on creating emotionally sound work environments for their employees.
Most companies at least attempt to create positive work environments for their workers, but in the age of mass resignation, many businesses seem to be missing something vital. We believe the reason for this is a lack of attention to the emotional dynamics of the workspaces senior management places their workers
We use a framework to understand some of the forces that are at play when considering the emotional environment at work.
1 - Subjective Dynamics
2 - Objective Dynamics
3 - Intersubjective Dynamics
4 - Interobjective Dynamics
Subjective Dynamics in the workplace focus on the emotional context brought into the workspace by individuals - is this employee fulfilled at work? Are they in a good state of mind, and is achieving this state of mind something that is acknowledged and emphasized in the workspace?
This is a part of that employee's subjective experience, and their view may not be shared by the rest of the team. In fact, it can often be dramatically different. Imagine being the one person of color on staff, or the only woman on a sales team of men. The work is the same objectively, but the individual experience of that work could be drastically different.
Objectively an employee’s emotional and mental state can be impacted by the technical aspects of their work. Are the procedures efficient & easy to understand and execute? Are these procedures improved upon? Is all the staff equally involved in improving or influencing this iterative process? These are the objective dynamics that can be empirically observed - and also weigh into the overall emotional state of team members.
These two concepts - subjective and objective don’t work on individuals in isolation. Even with the advent and rise of remote work, team members find themselves engaging with one another. These spaces of conversation can occur in the office, through email chains, slack channels, or zoom calls. Wherever they happen, they create opportunities for relationships to develop.
When we discuss relationships, we move from subjective to intersubjective - and it begs us to ask these kinds of questions. How do the emotional relationships in your organization affect business performance in aggregate?
Do the junior staff trust and respect senior and middle management? Can they be candid with each other? What are the factors that positively impact these relationships?
When examining intersubjective dynamics - we find that many organizations fall seriously short. On the surface, daily check-ins are observed, and emails are polite and cheery, but below the surface, employees find themselves apathetic to the extrinsic goal of the organization, because they feel that the organization does not respect their intrinsic motivations.
Interobjective dynamics are usually clearly defined - simply because the organization needs to have these processes outlined to generate revenue. This also includes a review of employee work - which is a mix of interobjective and intersubjective dynamics.
How we use the framework to create results
When an organization decides to work with Consciously Exposed Consulting we approach all of these areas - with a focus on subjective and intersubjective dynamics. Our arts-based approach creates space for staff to develop trust and respect for one another - and this leads to greater emotional awareness of one another in the workplace.