Can you imagine being present on the day when a massive, shallow-rooted redwood tree came crashing to the earth, splintering into enormous jagged shards of timber?
Can you imagine the sound, the grotesque violence, the shredding and grating of the collision as one falling tree snapped over the back of one that had previously fallen?
Can you imagine one member of a silent forest slowly toppling over and remaking everything in its downward path?
Can you imagine what would happen if we collectively realized and acted upon the fact that there are people in our workplaces – in our communities and families – who feel that same kind of chaos within themselves every day?
We cannot and should not rely on our leaders alone to recognize and prevent our coworkers from struggling with significant, debilitating challenges. We can and should expect our leaders to work with us to cultivate environments where it is possible to intervene, support, protect and account for the very real human needs that every one of our teammates brings with them to the workplace each day.
Our workplaces, just like our forests, will always bear the marks of the very real challenges that occur there. Unlike our forests, however, our workplaces can and must be places where the falling are caught, loved and brought back to wholeness however possible.
DAVID BERRY is the author of “A More Daring Life: Finding Voice at the Crossroads of Change” and the founder of RULE13 Learning. He speaks and writes about the complexity of leading in a changing world. Connect with him on Twitter at @berrydavid.