The turbulence and violence in our nation’s capital on January 6th have left many feeling shocked, angry, frustrated, and even discouraged.
Here’s what we know for sure: employees’ mental wellbeing and productive teamwork are at stake. We know this because WSG is no different. Even though our work has revolved around helping our clients navigate 2020, we must also nurture our own team members’ sense of hope and wellbeing.
One of the greatest lessons we learned while helping companies navigate 2020 was that communication and proactive leadership can make the difference between achieving a renewed sense of hope or amplifying anxiety. This is the time to acknowledge what is taking place and to offer reassurance that “together we are stronger.” It is a time to rally employees behind the company’s collective mission and to help them remember a brighter vision.
To that end, we want to offer a few WSG strategies to help you unify your team during these critical weeks ahead.
- Start with an executive message. Proactive presidents, CEOs, and executive leaders have been sending or are currently crafting executive messages to remind their entire organization that “we are in this together,” offering next steps and support resources. Start with an executive message if you haven’t already. And if you are stuck, we can help.
- Set the right tone and prepare to listen. Listening during these times is critical, but it is up to you to establish the rules of engagement first. Encourage conversation—not debates. Create safe spaces to process feelings, but don’t feel like you have to have answers. Discussing politics at work is often taboo, yet employees have weathered a very difficult 2020 and may want to process their experiences.
- Listen. Listen. Listen. This is a great time to have an open-door policy, even if you are working remotely. Make time on your calendar for nonjudgmental listening sessions and remind employees when you are available or who to contact.
- Look for growth opportunities. We have seen our clients use the difficulties of 2020 to propel the team forward. In the midst of adversity are gems that can make us all better. Invite your team members to share their ideas to help the team cope during this time and implement the ones that can provide quick wins.
- Highlight available employee assistance programs and HR Support. Don’t assume everyone knows what is available to them. List key resources and key contacts.
Three Ways to Cope During Stressful Times
Remember that self-care is more critical than ever—for your team members and YOU.
- Limit information intake. Stay informed but step away from the news cycle regularly for your own emotional and mental health. Too much time consuming news, engaging in heated discussions or pondering the severity of the events is proven to have adverse effects on your mental and physical health.
- Find your tribe. Surround yourself with people who are focusing on positive action, moving forward, and being change agents.
- Develop gratitude rituals. Research shows that spending even five minutes a day expressing gratitude, through journaling or sharing, can help refuel your sense of hope and wellbeing—which ultimately can be the fuel you need to keep moving forward.
Lastly, know that the resilience you were forced to develop in 2020 will serve you well to navigate anything that comes your way in 2021.
It has been our privilege to support organizations across the country and leaders like you—and we will continue to be here for you in 2021!. If you have any questions for us or need support, please do not hesitate to reach out.
Karen Hinds is a leadership and diversity and inclusion expert. She used her experience in building talent pipelines for financial services companies to launch her company over 20 years ago. Workplace Success Group is a strategic, talent development firm that works with organizations to cultivate and retain their next generation of leaders.