Family Matters in a Caring Environment

The human instinct to connect and be attached to a primary caregiver occurs in a family context.  We are hard wired to form bonds with parent figures; the bonding provides us with safety and security in a hostile world.  Employees bring this instinct to act and interpret within a family context to their worksite.  As a result, they interpret the behavior of supervisors and teams from a family perspective.

Given that people just put this “family” projection onto their coworkers, good managers and leaders learn how to utilize this aspect of their workers in the organizational setting.  It means that they learn to work with the fact that employees will tend to place them in a parental framework.  It means that they will provide adequate nurturance, and treat sibling coworkers in a fair and equal manner.  It means that they will build a “family-like” environment through the teams established to accomplish the work.

Many consultants have tried to convince employees that the company is not a family.  After all, acceptance in a family is a given while acceptance in a company is based on productivity.  While this difference does exist, people at work still want a family-like experience.  There is not only a way to create this experience, but to have it benefit the bottom line.

In the next several blogs I will discuss how this third critical principle can be understood and used to build satisfied and highly productive workers.

Tom DeMaio, PhD

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