We are pleased to welcome guest blogger Lynn Taylor. She is a nationally recognized workplace expert and author with 20 years of expertise. She shares with us her vision for achieving a humanized workplace.

The Humanized Workplace: A Goal Worth Achieving

These days, it seems that when you hear the word “boss” in the media, it’s all too often preceded by the word “bad”. That may be understandable, what with layoffs, stress in the workplace, CEOs under scrutiny for misdeeds, and other fallout of the recession. Perhaps it’s partly a case of “those who fire, take the blame”. Or, maybe it’s just easy to demonize the people at the top.

Whatever the case, either the ratio of bad bosses to good has increased exponentially over the past year or so, or we’re all becoming more aware of the importance of the “respectful workplace.” I tend to think that it’s the latter and that (thankfully!) this makes truly bad managers more visible today.

Since the launch of my book several weeks ago, Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant™(TOT): How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job, I’ve been often asked if I believe all bosses are “bad.” My passion and goal is really to encourage the workforce to see the human side of office dynamics…to create a more humanized, productive and yes, respectful workplace. One that is safe for success… safe for employees to make mistakes, innovate and take risks. It should certainly be role modeled from the most senior levels in an organization. But everyone can help engender a supportive and emotionally healthy work environment.

It’s interesting to me that some people feel they must have two very different personas, one at work and one with friends. One robotic and one human. I think everyone can agree that it would be a lot less stressful if we could work together as people achieving a common goal. A “what’s in it for us?” versus “what’s in it for me?” mindset.

Can Employees “Tame” Bad Bosses?

I do believe that employees can do their part by “managing up,” and role modeling good behavior to difficult bosses. That not only benefits their career, but their co-workers, their boss and the company – a triple win. I believe that whether we’re toddlers or senior managers, we all have the same human instincts, needs and fears. If we take a little extra time to read past the professional façade to the human, even childlike dynamic, we’ll all be immeasurably more productive.

One national telephone survey we commissioned with a global independent research firm last year, found than over 75 percent of workers believe that office politics can create “harmful stress and that it hurts employee productivity.” The issue goes deeper. More than 80 percent felt than “being a proactive problem solver with their boss, using strong people skills and indirectly modeling positive behaviors” – that is, “managing up” – is a valuable skill that should be offered at their companies. Yet 70 percent of them feel that taking such steps, as subtle and helpful as they seem, could result in termination.

This presents an opportunity for senior management. Employees are ready and willing to shoulder some of the responsibility for a better work environment. By allowing team members to explore new innovations and take calculated risks, employers can offer a rich, motivational work experience, in a highly profitable venue. The end result: a more humanized workplace.