Life at work resumed, but your team needs a post-lockdown boost?
Are you being kept awake at night wondering how to shift your team from average to extraordinary? You know there’s brilliant potential in there, but you don’t know how to tap into it. Perhaps your potential isn’t being realised either?
Feeling like this makes perfect sense, especially right now. So much energy and attention was consumed in getting organised for the New Normal during the ‘post lockdown’ reintegration. And yet the uncertainty continues, borders remain blocked, school holiday plans have been thwarted and the light at the end of your tunnel may be retreating. Perhaps your people are exhausted, losing creativity, focus and motivation.
Pause. Take a deep breath. You’re definitely not alone.
Many of us are overwhelmed and exhausted by living in the performance zone, with the noise of others' expectations in our ear. Living on auto pilot, multi-tasking and creating destructive stories about the stress of our work and relationships. Perhaps we’re unable to cope when life hasn’t returned to ‘normal’, or when life just doesn’t go according to our plan.
Which means our performance, creativity, relationships, physical health and mental health are all suffering.
The truth is life is bumpy, messy and full of uncertainty, we can't change what is going on around us. But most of us overlook the fact that we can change how we experience it.
Perhaps you’ve tried team building exercises, personality assessments or you’ve taken to giving away copious amounts of free sick leave for “work related stress”?
There is another way: building your team from the inside out by practicing deliberate thinking at an individual level. Bouncing back with more creativity, energy and purpose than we had before lockdown, all starts with protecting our ATTENTION, developing individual resilience and mindfulness. Then your team of individuals will be ready to be extraordinary, as a team.
Here are three simple techniques I invite you to practice in team meetings. It’s part of a mindset reset which will enable your team to get curious, reflective, then deliberate. Back on track, together.
1 - Controllable vs Uncontrollable
Increasing your team’s sense of control is probably one of the most useful and simple tools for your resilience kete. Having meetings to discuss ‘issues’ could be transformed if the conversation starts with identifying what IS and IS NOT within your control. Rather than who is at fault. Simply asking: “what is within my sphere of control, and what is not?”
And the next step? Letting go of (surrendering) what you can’t control, and directing resources and ATTENTION to what you can control (active coping).
The alternatives to surrender and active coping are burying your head in the sand (passive coping), or trying to control that over which you have no control (over control). Both are recipes for stress and burn out. One last tip: we definitely cannot control other people’s reactions or what they think of us or our ideas.
2 - Self-compassion
Yes, it may sound ‘soft’ but directing our attention to whether we are feeding our self critic or showing self compassion can do wonders for your team’s mental health and connection. Research shows that those with greater self compassion, have more compassion for others. It’s a win win.
The most useful tool is to pay ATTENTION to our inner dialogue and question it every time – “is what I am thinking helping me, harming me? Or even holding me back?”
Encourage staff to give this some thought when they feel down or despondent in meetings – and they’ll soon work out whether they’re giving their inner critic too much air time!
3 - Try New Things at RISK of failing!
Allowing your team to experiment, to take a few small risks, can really boost creativity, innovation and engagement. If your team is encouraged to learn from failure, rather than be ridiculed or named and shamed for trying, who knows where the ideas could take you?
Meetings can take a whole new shape and direction if people are thinking outside the box knowing there is no stigma attached to a failure. Rather encourage your team to reflect and pay ATTENTION to: “what did we learn, what would we do differently next time?”
4 - OK I know I said three...
But I can’t ignore this fourth tool. It’s legal, free and right under your nose. Your breath. Granted it may feel weird – at first - but starting a meeting with a few deep delicious belly breaths switches your nervous system from stressed to calm.
And the impact of that? The conscious reasoning part of your brain kicks in, you’ll be in the present moment (paying ATTENTION), you’ll make better decisions, you’ll think more creatively in a relaxed state and your team will be more receptive to others’ ideas.
Well, that was quite a journey. Thanks for getting to the end with me.
If you’re interested in more techniques or would like to invest in a tailored workshop: give me a call. I run resilience and mindfulness workshops covering themes such as:
- rebuilding and reconnecting your team
- building up those resilience muscles so you thrive not despite, but because, of adversity
- incorporating more mindfulness in the workplace for better leadership and productivity.
Happy days start with deliberate thinking!