Having a face that can endure grievances was a common trait of many “successful professionals” from the previous generation. What’s a little tolerance for the sake of financial freedom? When I succeed and rise above the rest, I can make amends tenfold.
However, the new generation generally can’t endure for that long.
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It’s not that they don’t value financial freedom. Financial freedom remains attractive. Companies and leaders that can provide financial freedom to their members are still highly respected. However, exceptional companies and leaders must realize that everyone’s demands and standards are slowly, if not irreversibly, increasing.
The new generation seeks “financial freedom + emotional freedom.” In a sense, the pursuit of “emotional freedom” has become a new “spirit of the times.”
So, what is emotional freedom? It’s not about the freedom to throw temper tantrums or escaping into solitude as a form of emotional freedom. It’s about emotional freedom within a group, within an organization.
Specifically, emotional freedom within a group or organization includes:
- Being free from direct emotional harm from leaders and the company.
- Respecting and allowing individual emotions (such as expression and disagreement).
- Making it easier for members to experience positive emotions in the organizational environment.
- Not abusing one’s own emotions, i.e., not infringing on others’ emotional freedom.
What are the signs of “pursuing emotional freedom”? How can we understand the many changes of this era from the perspective of “emotional freedom”?
“I want to do what I love,” even if it’s not understood, even if there isn’t much money. Some may express it as being “mission-driven” or “pursuing self-fulfillment,” but essentially, it means doing what you enjoy and what you want to do. Doing what you love and want to do brings emotional freedom.
Not everyone has the opportunity or conditions to do what they love. In fact, many people don’t even know what they truly love. However, many people know what they don’t like (because their emotions tell them). Instead of doing what they don’t like, they’d rather stay at home or adopt a more relaxed approach. This way, they can at least have emotional freedom. When they’re short on money, they might endure for a while, but you can’t motivate them with career development. You can’t manipulate them with competition or fear. When times are tough and it’s all about money, you may have their body, but you can’t have their heart.
Companies and leaders will find that the new generation is less likely to offer “loyalty.” Many employees have been educated with countless “success stories.” They’ve discovered that in numerous success stories, everyone worked hard and helped the boss achieve financial freedom but also inadvertently gave the boss the freedom to “point fingers” at employees. In such a “successful company,” employees lose emotional freedom. With the cost of losing personal emotional freedom, is it worth a bit of financial freedom? More and more people can’t justify this trade-off.
When you combine these changes, you’ll find that more and more people don’t want to be restricted by the formalities of being an “employee” in a formal organization. More and more people want to replace “employment relationships” with “business relationships” and use “members” instead of “employees” (hence the title “helping members” rather than “helping employees”). They’d rather earn a bit less, but the sense of freedom and equality that comes with these “business relationships” brings emotional freedom.
Traditional hierarchical organizations will increasingly find themselves at a loss. Hierarchical organizations don’t treat people as complete individuals; they only require a part of them (their minds and bodies) and are not good at providing an emotional environment that nurtures the soul. The most unbearable aspect is using power to distribute emotional rights (for example, only leaders can lose their temper, while subordinates can only “be obedient”). Pursuing emotional freedom is, to some extent, pursuing emotional equality. We may be unequal in terms of job titles and decision-making authority, and there may be huge disparities in income, but emotionally, we want equality.
We also need to recognize that as women become more powerful in the workplace, the emphasis on and acceptance of emotional freedom become even more necessary. Traditional hierarchical organizations are often very male or even male-dominated and are very unfriendly to women. These companies often use the military as an analogy and a learning object, viewing emotions as weak and feminine and doing everything they can to stifle them. Women are increasingly less likely to tolerate this phenomenon.
Furthermore, many companies providing services rely on “emotional laborers” to deliver high-quality service to customers. For these companies, the requirement for emotional freedom is not only about the organizational environment but also a strategic necessity.
Companies and leaders who lack sensitivity and awareness of these changes can easily become embroiled in grievances and confusion: I’m doing this for your own good (helping you achieve financial freedom), but you don’t seem to appreciate it. Little do they know that offering honey to a rabbit and carrots to a dog, even if it’s done with good intentions, is a serious mismatch and will surely be fruitless.
Viewing these changes from the perspective of “emotional freedom” can be enlightening.
Financial freedom + emotional freedom: one is somewhat rigid, and the other is somewhat soft.
Although financial freedom is inflexible, it’s not immediately satisfying. In contrast, the satisfaction of emotional freedom doesn’t have to wait. Therefore, once the demand for emotional freedom becomes widespread, it’s challenging to restrain.
For emotional freedom, a better strategy is understanding and guiding rather than resistance.
From another perspective, valuing emotional freedom is a very positive and affirmative thing; it’s a reflection of the level of economic development. If you can
‘t even afford food, you certainly won’t have the conditions to pursue emotional freedom. Emotional freedom, at least, is a social and respect-oriented need (while money is more about security and victory). For many people, emotional freedom is even a high-level need for partial self-realization.
From a societal perspective, more and more people have come to deeply understand that their parents’ emotions have a critical impact on their lifelong happiness. They realize that their parents’ good emotions are the best gift to the next generation. Therefore, they must improve their own emotions so that their children can grow up in an emotionally free environment.
Isn’t this a progress worth celebrating? Exceptional companies and leaders must embrace this change and create “fearless organizations” that can provide emotional freedom to their members.
In the next era, companies that can help members achieve “financial freedom + emotional freedom” will attract more exceptional talents and capture a portion (note, only a portion) of their members’ hearts.
Transparency, honesty, and the absence of fear will make members more emotionally free.
Of course, the most fundamental values below transparency, honesty, and the absence of fear are goodwill and love.
In such organizations, individuals will become more positive, sunny, and full of positive energy, leading to a higher quality of life.