So, How Does That Make You Feel?
Sometimes I lament to clients that I have to fight against the reputation of being “touchy-feely” in my work. Once classified as touchy-feely, I can lose the respect of many in the business world. And, for the record, I’ve never sung Kumbaya at the end of one of my sessions, nor have I engaged in any form of group hug.
But my work does engage the “softer” side of organizations, and it is true people have cried at some of the sessions I have facilitated. Some have jokingly suggested that my role is partly as a “therapist.”
Now, my Mom is a therapist, so I have some exposure to and respect for that field. It makes me proud, frankly, to be compared to a therapist. But let’s be clear—I was not trained as a therapist and the work I do isn’t therapy.
But psychology is definitely a part of what I do. It was a part of my studies in both conflict resolution and organization development because, not surprisingly, both involve human beings. It may be hard to believe, but as human beings, we don’t leave our psyches (or hearts, or minds) at the door when we come to work. That’s why psychology (and the “soft” stuff) is a part of my work and should be a part of the normal focus in business.
As I said in yesterday’s post, I am glad that these things are going more mainstream. There is a feature story in HBR about the “inner work life” written by psychologists. I’ll write about it next week.