“How we do anything is how we do everything.” – Jon Owen
- The importance of caring in the workplace
- Care Fatigue
The following article is based on our interview with Jon Owen, CEO and Pastor of the Wayside Chapel in Sydney. Jon has a continuing mission of creating a community of no ‘us and them’. Check it out on The Caring CEO podcast.
Jon is passionate about how the community can play a role in everyone having a better life. He cares deeply about the people he serves and is a passionate communicator. He is not afraid to take on big challenges.
Listen and learn from Graeme Cowan’s interview with Jon for The Caring CEO podcast episode #53.
Caring in the workplace
When asked about caring in the workplace, Jon discussed Martin Buber’s perspective that “people should be seen as individuals to be understood rather than problems to be solved”. According to Jon, when we consider the value of care and apply it to our work environment, we acknowledge that we are all individuals searching for purpose. Sometimes, the structures of organisations can strip away our humanity and trap us within rigid management frameworks, leading to our own downfall.
“How we do anything is how we do everything.”
Jon believes that our approach to anything reflects our overall mindset. In the context of the Wayside Chapel, a non-profit charity organisation focused on caring for the most vulnerable in society, there is an opportunity to extend this philosophy. However, it’s disheartening when individuals are unkind or unsupportive towards their colleagues and those around them. If we claim to have boundless love and compassion for those in need, but only offer judgment and criticism to those in our immediate circle, we risk coming across as insincere. Unfortunately, many organisations, even those in the non-profit sector, believe that love and care should only extend to their primary mission, neglecting the importance of nurturing a caring culture internally. This goes against the kind of culture and world we are striving to create.
We understand that when every individual who enters their workplace experiences a genuine sense of love and care, it leads to higher levels of satisfaction, teamwork, and fondness towards colleagues. This positive environment ultimately enhances their performance, as they become part of a collective striving to make a meaningful impact on the world. As human beings, we are wired for connection, and it’s crucial to extend that connection to the places where we spend a significant portion of our adult lives—often more time than we get to spend with our own families in a given week.
Caring in the workplace
There’s a very little-known story about the founder of Wayside, Reverand Tedd Noffs, that reveals a different side of him. While he is widely recognised and respected as an incredible individual, he remains an enigmatic figure. At the peak of his leadership prowess, he embarked on a trip to meet the queen and Prince Charles with the aim of expanding the reach of life education on an international scale. Tragically, he suffered a severe stroke during the flight, resulting in a permanent decline in his health. He spent the remaining eight years of his life bedridden, receiving care from his devoted wife. Throughout this period, he was only able to utter two words, which he would repeat to anyone who visited him. With what little strength he had left in his hand, he would grasp their hand and sincerely say, “I’m sorry.”
Those were the only words he could utter. However, for Jon, this paints a bigger picture. As someone called to a leadership role, it means more than just envisioning a collective future. It involves inviting others to join that journey, even if it means causing them pain along the way. Sometimes, old ways of working and moving forward need to be deconstructed, despite the attachment and care people have for them. This process may break hearts along the way. Jon finds solace in this story, as it grounds him and reminds him of the importance of humility. No matter how successful or impactful his endeavors may be, there will always be an inherent sadness and sense of loss that accompanies progress.
Jon came to the realisation that as a leader, it is both his duty and privilege to ensure that everyone has access to the necessary support. This support is crucial for individuals to embark on a transformative journey of personal and professional growth. It goes beyond just developing their skills in the workplace—it encompasses nurturing their identity as human beings, which ultimately influences all aspects of their lives. Recognising and prioritising this holistic approach makes perfect sense.
You may be interested in our WeCARE Manager training to build mentally healthy teams: https://wecare365.com.au/wecare-manager/
To learn more about WeCARE365 and The Caring CEO, visit us here: https://wecare365.com.au/
We create simple skill-building programs that help managers lead mentally healthy teams. We believe that the #1 priority for every leader and team is to be more caring and mentally healthy and to enjoy growing together. In the very best teams, people care about each other, have each other’s backs, and enjoy each other’s company. We know the best learning solutions are those that ‘everybody gets’, which are easy to roll out, promote, and provide ongoing practical support. If you would like to see a demo, please book here.