To understand how to boost your team's wellbeing, you've got to start with you. You probably know that already, right? When you show up for work feeling angry, sluggish or fed up, you see the impact on those around you pretty fast. Not to mention the arguments that blow up with your partner when you've had a crap day at work.
Likewise, when you're feeling confident and on top of things, the ripple effect on others is immense. So how can you be more of a beacon of wellbeing, and less of a black hole of frustration?
We asked some of our Certified Women's Coaches, working in diverse roles and organisations, what practices have shifted things in their leadership.
Here are 5 ways to boost your team's wellbeing...
#1 Figure out what triggers you - and how to handle it
Being able to manage your own emotional responses is key to how you’re able to support others. Sarah Tite is a leader in the charity sector, who identified really clearly how big an impact her emotions have on her team.
“As a leader, it doesn't matter how I'm feeling. I have to be able to show up as my best self. It’s a little bit about the knowledge I have, but ultimately, I can find someone to teach me that. I can buy that in if I need to.
What I can't outsource is my self awareness, how I'm responding to things, how I'm showing up. And as a leader, that’s really your measure. If you can look at what's going on, and deal with it – with other people's emotions – without it upsetting you, that’s what really matters."
Action: Try tracking your “triggers” for a week - moments when you find yourself reacting without thinking. Observe what situations you find tricky: is it someone questioning your competence; situations when you’re tired and in need of a break; or moments when you feel you’re not being heard?
Explore what you observe in your journal, to see if you can resource yourself to respond differently the next time you're "triggered". You can't choose what challenges come your way - but you can choose how you respond to them.
#2 Do what comes naturally.
Are you clear on your values - and is your day to day work aligned with them?
Whether it’s wrangling your kids into the car, chairing a tricky meeting or planning your next break, everything feels easier when you’re working in alignment with what matters most.
Claryn Nichols, a health coach, shared her own breakthrough about following the flow.
"When you're in alignment with what you doing, as a coach, it's easy. Sometimes, you know, I think as coaches as well as women we've been drilled to do the hard work and I think you have to be hard and if it's not hard, then it's not, you can't be achieving. I believe that as coaches, you have to live in alignment with your values yourself, because otherwise we’re lacking integrity.
You've got to be aligned, and you have to embody what you say. You have to believe in what you say and what you do yourself. That's really inspired me.”
Action: Spend some time figuring out your values - and then think about your day to day work. How much of what you do is in line with what really matters to you? Get creative - can you connect your "big picture" to even the smallest of daily tasks, and imbue it with a sense of purpose that motivates and inspires you to do it?
How are you being a role model to others when it comes to living what you believe in?
#3 Be aware of who (and HOW) you influence
Sometimes, our frustrations with those around us come when we see them as a hindrance to our work, rather than a part of the impact we are able to make. In her role as Knowledge Exchange Fellow in a university, Kath Allen noticed a shift when she began to share her goals more actively with those around her - instead of trying to create results solely on her own.
"Whereas before I’d see completing a project as very much down to me, I now see it as a collaboration with the people I’m working with. I'm focused on engaging them and asking them coaching questions to help me really get to the bottom of what's useful for them. Finding out what they actually need, and what they already have, and what they can contribute as a community."
Action: If you feel pressured about creating results, try letting go of some of the responsibility. Instead, think about how you can take care of the people around you so that they are able to do their best work.
Will you meet the deadline better by working all night by yourself - or by connecting and motivating your team so that they can collaborate?
#4 Appreciate people!
All of us need appreciation. Especially in these turbulent times, when many of us have shifted to working at home. Notice who’s feeling the pressure, and be specific when you appreciate them. At One of many we have a practice of acknowledging each other every week in our shared chat channel. It makes a huge difference to receive a heartfelt thank you, and to know that someone has noticed the work you do.
Jen Goddard is an actuary who noticed that during the pandemic, her staff really responded to conscious recognition of all they were dealing with.
"One of my direct reports keeps saying to me, I feel like I'm not getting anything done. I'm just procrastinating all the time. And actually I said, your workload hasn't changed. Your work production hasn't changed. It's just, you're missing key breaks. And the time spent going from meeting room to meeting room and all those bits of time that you don't notice you're losing at the office. You've suddenly got those at home and people are beating themselves up over what they're not doing, when actually it's just that they've got more space."
Action: Whether it's an acknowledgment in a meeting or a quick email at the end of a busy day - start telling those around you what you've noticed them doing well. Make it a regular practice, and encourage others to do the same.
Appreciating others helps you focus on gratitude, which in turn boost your wellbeing. Win-win!
#5 Set boundaries - and support others to do the same
One of the biggest shifts our coaches notice in their clients is an ability to set boundaries. When you feel confident about what is and isn't yours to take on, you can help those around you protect their own energy - even in high stress environments.
“I'm right to say 'no' to some things, I know now; it's energy zapping to do work that my heart is not in." - One of many coaching client
"Academia is full of people who are stressed out, and overworked. There's a lot of burnout there as well. Now that the general population is waking up to the climate crisis and there's so much negativity in the news, I feel like those of us that have known about it for a long time are kind of re-experiencing it again. As a coach, I can support my colleagues to work in a healthier way." - Kath Allen
Action: Check in with yourself - could you do with setting more powerful boundaries? Do you need to have a conversation with someone in your life about what you can and can't do? If you'd like a helpful script, download Enough is Enough for all the support you need to navigate this topic.
One of the fastest ways to boost your team's wellbeing is to model a healthier way of working. That means saying "no" to things you can't do - and leaving Superwoman at the door.
How about you?
Do you consciously boost your team's wellbeing - and have you got any other tips to add to this list? Share in the comments!
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