What Does Democracy Mean In A Workplace?

25-Jan-2018 02:19 PM Verbinden Communication


A beautiful word. A wonderful concept. A fundamental right.

People have fought and died for it. It is, in this century, the most talked about topic without a doubt. But how much is too much? Are rules really shackles? Can we function without any guideline at all?

While these are much grander questions on much heavier topics, every aspect of our life requires us to ask them. This applies to workplaces as well. A democratic workplace is every employee’s dream, where there is no ‘Big Brother’ watching his every move. But these days, democracy is often confused with doing whatever you want.

Employers don’t have it easy.

It is a tough choice for organizations when they have to work out democracy and rules in their offices in a way they balance each other. Employees should have enough creative freedom so that they can realize their true potential. If mundane activities like claiming overtime and logging in to work without being a minute late are things to worry about, then precious time and emotional energy will be wasted on them. At the same time, an organization cannot do without discipline. If employees are encouraged to work without rules, needless to say, chaos will be the inevitable result. After all,  meeting deadlines is also a rule.

The many labels and numbers that haunt the nightmares of an employee are measurable criteria for the employers. If performance must be reviewed, there must be standards. People must be judged. Often, the rules that organizations enforce are because of the lack of choice.

Employees do mean well.

Equality is a much-cherished concept, especially in a country as diverse as India. And this is at the very heart of employee dissatisfaction. To rephrase Jung, “Show me a happy employee and I will find some level of dissatisfaction in him.” Employees see favoritism in their workplace even if there is none. We believe that people are judged on different parameters. We believe that we are always looked over.  

Once employees prove themselves, they expect some level of leeway in their day to day work. A committed employee must not be treated the same as a moderate employee. Sometimes, they just want to be recognized for their work without being vocal about it.

Is there a middle path?

Yes, there is. But it requires vigilance from the employers and dedication from the employees. Employers must realize the commitment and effort employees put in and bend the rules if need be. Employees, on the other hand, must realize that with great power comes great responsibility! 

Rights and responsibilities go hand in hand. A right is also a privilege. That is the true essence of democracy. 

You owe and are owed.

Happy Republic Day!