The Preponderance of Neglect

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“Most organizations don’t fall apart as a result of one big blow. Most relationships don’t end because of one grand argument. Most lives don’t fall to pieces due to one sad event. No, I suggest to you that sustained failure happens as the consequence of small, daily acts of neglect that stack up over time to lead to a blowup — and breakdown.”

Robin Sharma, Writer and Speaker

I have wanted to write this article for some time because I believe we have been, and are, steeped in neglect. And not just on our devices either as is shown in this picture. Neglect has many faces.  I believe it is so common that we are like fish in the ocean, unaware of water. The more I know and liberate people to live in conditions and master conversations that help them feel empowered (having influence, a voice), lovable (seen and known as separate, worthy persons), connected (part of a caring community) and contributing (given opportunities and appreciation for their support), the more I see incredible healing and exceptional human functioning. These four core needs are the antidote for neglect. Yet we too often fail to cultivate them in ourselves, much less others.

In client sites where a responsibility- and values-based culture model has been adopted and encouragement and trust are foundational, neglect is overturned. Then people do not suffer common problems they once had, such as intergenerational, racial or other divides; negative behavior; discouragement; and disengagement, that typically lead to high turnover, low productivity, disengagement and strife. Rather, there is a spirit of camaraderie, support and faith in possibilities.

Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike.

J. K. Rowling, writer

Writer and speaker Brené Brown recently said that “neglect is betrayal,” and I realize the truth of this and now see it everywhere. And it is challenging to recognize and transform neglect. Here are five reasons why:

  1. Neglect is mixed in with good stuff. We all have had relationships in which those involved are funny, interesting and often loving while simultaneously and inadvertently neglecting our most basic needs. This is confusing and disheartening. We often don’t know how to fix relationships that are significantly neglectful, nor how and when to leave one when we recognize it, because there are real losses associated with leaving.
  2. Neglect has been sanctioned for centuries. On a collective level, we have justified neglect of whole communities of people, not only here in the U.S. but also the world over. Often this neglect has been blatant and unchecked. Eventually we become numb to it and think, “This is just how life and people are.”
  3. Because of neglect, we seek self-importance.I see people trapped by their own feelings of insignificance who respond with domination and status seeking. They do not realize what they are doing, and by their striving, they unconsciously elicit invalidation, thereby perpetuating further discouragement and neglect of others.
  4. Control is valued over community. Because of the preponderance of neglect, we see greater negative behavior and lose trust in the goodness of people. We believe they must be managed, motivated and manipulated.
  5. We are addicted to convenience and expediency. We fail to commit to take the time needed to train others within encouraging and supportive relationships that pay off over time.

What’s the solution? Commit to understanding the conditions needed by all people for healthy functioning so that you and those in your circle of influence do not create practices and conversations of neglect that lead to feelings of inferiority. It is this inferiority that causes untold and uninterrupted struggles within people (depression, anxiety, addiction) and external struggles between people (power struggles, righteousness and shutdown). This is the root cause of every business challenge you face. Transforming neglect into caring community is crucial to fulfilling dreams. Join me in creating a more enlightened, caring and supportive world!

This article was published in the column The Extraordinary Workplace in the St. Louis Small Business Monthly, May 2018

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Business owners and executives, community leaders, parents, educators and individuals hire LifeWork Systems because they know that effective conditions and conversations make all the difference in building trusting relationships, achieving dreams, and creating solutions and innovations for our evolving world. When people are happy and responsible, emotionally and socially intelligent, confident, and appropriately seen, heard, and supported, they always exceed expectations. We help instill into every person common concepts, terms, tools, and processes that result in healthy, happy, caring and contributing individuals, teams and organizations. Our mission is to create a world in which all people love their lives!

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