4 Reasons to Implement Stoicism in the Modern Workplace

The popularity of Stoicism in today’s business world is growing fast. Find out how companies can benefit by implementing principles of Stoicism in the workplace.

Bookmark(0)

No account yet? Register

4 Reasons to Implement Stoicism in the Modern Workplace

Here's what you need to know:

  • Stoicism is a philosophy developed in ancient Greece that focuses on practical action, and that’s why it’s reemerged in the past few decades
  • The entire philosophy is based on 4 distinct principles: practical wisdom, courage, justice, and temperance
  • To implement Stoicism in the workplace, reframe failures and setbacks and focus on what you can control
  • Detach what happened from how you felt about it and build resilience

Stoicism became a trending philosophy in the past couple of decades with people in the business and sports worlds. The emergence of Stoicism isn’t surprising since it’s a philosophy based on action and that’s what’s needed in the world of business and sports.

That’s why, in this article, we will discuss the importance of Stoicism in the workplace, how you can implement it, and what the tenets of it are. We’ll start with defining what Stoicism is.

What is stoicism and what are its principles?

Stoicism is a philosophy developed in ancient Greece by Zeno of Citium and later popularized by Marcus Aurelius and Epictetus. The philosophy focuses on practical action and that’s why it reemerged in the past few decades.

The entire philosophy is based on 4 distinct principles:

  • Practical wisdom. Stoicism encourages practical wisdom in all of its actions. It’s about taking in the options and discerning the good from bad, the short-term gains from the long-term benefits. It’s in the best interest of the individual and the organization to focus on the long-term benefits through practical wisdom in making good decisions.
  • Courage. Courage is about facing adversity with bravery. There will be many situations where it will be required to show courage, whether it’s a new product that needs to be developed or an old client that’s no longer beneficial for the company and has to be let go. All of it will require courage in the face of adversity.
  • Justice. Justice is about doing the right thing and this is deemed the highest virtue of the Stoics. With justice, you’re looking to make decisions that will amplify the good in society instead of doing harm. As a business, you have a moral and ethical responsibility to improve society and contribute to the positive well-being of it.
  • Temperance. Temperance is all about moderation; taking in the things that are happening and neither overreacting nor doing too little to change them. It’s also a reminder that you shouldn’t over-celebrate success or despair about failure and setbacks.

And if a Roman Emperor (Marcus Aurelius) and a slave (Epictetus) could implement these in their vastly different environments and lives, then all of us also have that option. So, here’s how you can implement the tenets of Stoicism in the modern workplace.

Here’s how you can implement Stoicism in the modern workplace

There are many ways you can implement Stoicism in the workplace, but the following 4 ways provide the biggest return on investment:

Reframe failure and setbacks

Stoicism is about mastering your emotional states. It’s not about not feeling anything, but learning how to master your emotions so that they don’t overtake you. It’s about feeling anger as it goes through you, but choosing to enact it as fuel for your work instead of doing something damaging.

With Stoicism, you’re learning how to look logically at the failures and setbacks of your organization. What are the things that happened and how can we make sure that they don’t happen again?

Also, Stoicism explains that setbacks, challenges, and failures are necessary for everyone. It’s through challenges that we grow stronger, both mentally and physically.

Nassim Taleb took this idea in his book Antifragile and explained the following:

“There are three responses a company can do in a crisis. One of them is that they crumble down under pressure and problems and flop—fragile. The second one is that they survive the problems and challenges of that time—robust. But the third response is about taking the problems and challenges and using them to strengthen your organization so that it grows stronger from it—Antifragile.”

So, when your organization is facing challenges, as it will, you will need to reframe the perspective so that you can benefit from the problems and setbacks.

Detach what happened from how you felt about it

This practice is helpful when implemented both on the organizational level and on the individual employee level. What it means is that you need to detach the thing that happened (the event) from the feeling it caused in you (the perspective).

When the market conditions change unfavorably for your organization, as they will at some point in time, you will need to separate that event from how you perceive it so that it doesn’t cause additional harm to the company.

It’s the difference between pain and suffering. Pain is inevitable as it’s the event that happened, but suffering is a response to how we choose to deal with that pain.

When the market conditions change unfavorably for your organization, as they will at some point in time, you will need to separate that event from how you perceive it so that it doesn’t cause additional harm to the company.

Also, this is a good principle to push in your entire organization with all of its employees. Detach what happened from what the individual feels about it (perspective change).

Focus on what you can control

The best thing about Stoicism is that it pushes you to see what you can and can’t control and then focus only on the elements that you can control.

On an individual employee level, that would mean the following. The individual can’t control what’s happening to them nor can they control the emotion that starts to happen in them. However, they can control the actions they take or don’t take because of those emotions.

Anger, jealousy, and spite are all emotions that happen in individuals and nobody can control them coming up. However, they can control how they react to them. An employee who can control and channel their emotions to something productive will be the biggest benefit to the organization as a whole.

On the organizational level, the company can see the trends that happen in the market and focus only on their actions and the elements that they can control.

Build resilience

Stoicism helps the employees and the entire organization build resilience that will be helpful during difficult times. It’s not about if the difficult times will come; it’s a matter of when they will come.

And once they do, you want your entire organization to be prepared to handle the problems and challenges that come their way.

We have seen how during the pandemic, many businesses faced hardships and problems. Some of them built resilience during the good times so when the bad times hit them, they could weather the storm and come out unscathed.

Stoicism teaches us that we must always build resilience, our internal fortress, by laying one brick at a time. This way, we can ensure that we build the most resilient fortress.

The organization is only as strong as the employees who are working for it. So, make sure that you invest in building a resilient workforce that can withstand the problems and challenges that inevitably come. That way, your company will become antifragile and endure hardships easily.

What’s your biggest 2022 HR challenge that you’d like to resolve

Answer to see the results

The popularity of Stoicism in the workplace is increasing

The popularity of Stoicism in today’s business world is growing fast and we’ve seen why that is. Its tenets and principles are well-aligned with the business world and companies and organizations can only benefit by implementing Stoicism in their workplace.

On top of that, Stoicism as a philosophy is beneficial for the employees as well. So, companies should look to implement the practices all across the organization.

If you need more inspirational information regarding building resilience and Stoicism in the workplace, check out this post: Business Unusual: Hardship Breeds Resilience, Says the CEO of This 82-Year-Old Company.

Bookmark(0)

No account yet? Register

Might also interest you