In the previous blog, we unveiled some of the deeper, personal trials with the new world of working from home. This sudden change in venue may open up some difficult feelings for employees -- a lack of privacy, embarrassment, no boundaries and no control. In this blog, we offer the conscious leader a way to achieve high performance.
Brain-based science says that we each need psychological safety, belonging, and mattering to perform at our best. Abraham Maslow provided us with this description of the hierarchy of needs. And indeed, when one level is disjointed, it’s difficult to move on and up to better performance. This model of safety, belonging, and mattering are with us all the time. For example, when we come into a new team, we want to know that our egos will be OK; that we fit in; and that we will make a difference to the team.
In this blog, let’s look at how the conscious leader can help to create that psychological safety when our home becomes our workplace. Emotional intelligence says that empathy is one of the finest, enduring skills of leadership. Leaders, here’s what you can do:
Keep your finger on the beating pulse of heart-felt feelings.
- Ask employees directly how they are feeling about working virtually at home. Gensler says that employees without their own personal space are 3 times as unhappy as those with a dedicated space.
- Salesforce surveyed their employees to find that 36% of them were stressed. If employees are not telling you how they feel, no news is not good news. Reach out directly, one-on-one, to hear how they are coping. Of course, ensure that the employee is in a private space to be able to answer that question.
- You can cut through the boss-employee distance by disclosing your own feelings first. This primes the pump and demonstrates that Feelings-First is the new normal. A CEO revealed his own fear for his grandson in the hospital for cancer treatment; he cried. The team was gripped by the sincere tears of this former Marine.
- Continue allowing for feelings. You might start a meeting by going around the group with a one word check-in. Jeff Marcous, a former CCBA board member, uses a technique called “clearing” to start meetings with his staff. This Emotional Exhale brings everyone closer.
- Go beyond emojis. At toy-maker Mattel each employee has a stuffed animal that tells others how their day is going. Head down or up. Back or butt to you. Mr. Rogers isn’t the only one to use puppets to make expressing feelings OK.
In the next blog, we’ll give you suggestions from other conscious leaders on how to develop belonging.
The authors -- Donnie Hill and Kris Schaeffer – have never worked together before. Heck, they’ve never even met in person. They hope to be models of how to thrive while working virtually.
Donnie recently resigned from his full-time tech job as a Marketing & Sales Enablement Specialist to build his own coaching and consulting company, Life Maximizer, LLC. Now he’s taking his 15 years of experience to advise senior executives and leaders on increasing resilience and rebuilding so they can grow post-COVID. Donnie is really starting to love his new 15-second commute and the freedom to bounce between his garden, his home office and his kitchen table.
Kris has always worked from her office where she is surrounded by binders full of 35 years of work. And books. Her only personal “homeschooling” has been the current year when she studied for the certification as a conscious consultant. Now she is a work gypsy who finally settled on the kitchen table where she’s able to get bandwidth. Kris Schaeffer & Associates helps companies engage their employees and astound their customers by building conscious cultures.