If I could observe all the daily interactions between people in your work environment, what would I see?
Take a moment and get an image of those interactions between team leaders and their team members, between peers, coworkers at your desks, in the breakroom, out at lunch, and in the quiet recesses of the hallway. What are the interactions like? What are the conversations about? Would you describe them as positive, constructive, and healthy – or not?
How would you assess the health of the community that is your workplace?
“Wait a minute! The community?”
In our group study of the Vocation of the Business Leader document the other day, one of the participants was complaining about certain individuals in his office, their excessive time away from their desks, and their “gossipy” conversations.
He got hung up on the point made in the document that, “Human flourishing … always involves … living in society. Indeed, it is only in community, that is, in communion with others, that a person can genuinely develop in ability, virtue, and holiness.” (VBL 32)
He argued that, “Jesus went off by Himself to pray often. Ignatius holed up in a cave to write Spiritual Exercises. Hearing that ‘tiny whispering sound’ often requires one to be alone. What is ‘community’? Where ‘2 or 3 are gathered’? I don’t know – maybe I am just anti-social. Or pro-individual.”
My first thoughts were:
• Jesus went off to pray (to spend time with) His Father – as a member of the community that is the Trinity. We are made in that image of God – members of a community.
• Perhaps Ignatius of Loyola did hole up in a cave to write his Spiritual Exercises. He also founded the Society of Jesus, a community, whose members are called Jesuits.
• We may like being alone, but we can’t serve others, if we’re not in relationship. Remember Jesus’ command, “If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s [community] feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.” (John 13: 14-15)
• The community of “Me, myself and I” may seem sufficient, but “we’re” not. As Mother Teresa is claimed to have said, “I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot. Together we can do great things.” As individuals, we’re incomplete. We need each other, find each other, and are fulfilled through our relationships – in community.
So, how would you assess the health of the community that is your workplace, and what can you do to add value to it?
Join in the conversation. Check out Nos Lumine, the Business Leadership Network [community] for Catholics.
You can also download your own FREE copy of the Vocation of the Business Leader: A Reflection.