I always say the simple things can be the most powerful.
Why make life complicated? Especially now.
You can do these three things anyplace, anywhere, anytime.
No rocket science required.
One – Understand human behaviour
We dedicate a fair amount of time to understanding our customers, clients or service-users and their needs.
But what about our colleagues?
You don’t need to be a behavioural psychologist but you do need to understand how people behave if they’re in ‘survival mode’
If they’re feeling threatened, fearful or overwhelmed they’ll be operating in ‘fight, flight or freeze’ mode with elevated levels of cortisol and adrenaline.
This may show up as procrastination or avoidance; extreme perfectionism, over-working or disengagement – or aggression; tearfulness or invisibility.
These are often ‘coping’ mechanisms that our reptilian brain is telling us will ‘keep us safe’.
What you can do
A simple and non-judgemental ‘tell me how you are finding things generally, right now’ opens the door to a deeper conversation. That gives the reptilian brain a chance to calm down and for the executive brain to kick in.
You can’t ‘fix’ Covid-19 but being heard – and showing you genuinely care – is often the most powerful thing you can do to help someone ground themselves and find a small step forward or a new way of looking at things.
Two – Evaluate and Change ‘as you go’
When we’re navigating the unknown, it’s tempting to keep on going and disregard the lessons learned along the way.
So, we keep doing what we’ve always done until we have some headspace to think.
What you can do instead
Take time out to review the week/month at your team meetings using these two simple questions:
- What worked well and why?
- What’s one thing we can do differently next week and why?
Then make the necessary changes.
One of my clients was sick to death of wasting her time and others’ because a simple online form was confusing to complete. It was one of those tasks that kept going to the bottom of the ‘to do’ pile because it wasn’t ‘urgent’.
It wasn’t urgent, but her time is important. Thirty minutes re-designing the form and then testing it with a few people took an hour.
She reckons that hour has subsequently saved her three hours EVERY WEEK.
Three hours she can spend on much more important things.
Three – Time-out is not self-indulgent
It’s easy to put yourself last. To keep on going. To be a hero.
Your team doesn’t need an exhausted leader – any more than you need an exhausted team.
It’s fine to ‘put your own oxygen mask on first’.
To take time out of the working day for exercise, for a lunch break and for time away from the screen.
To have space between meetings to think, reflect and gather your thoughts.
To practise deep breathing to re-set the nervous system and ‘clear your brain.’
To have ‘no meeting days’
Let’s do what works and keep it simple while we’re doing it!