August 24, 2021
As we dug into the data, the feelings of what people are holding back on were overwhelming - diminished work productivity, spiking stress levels, or personal issues colliding with work more than ever.
The consensus? Most people have been dealing with some form of extreme stress yet few have openly shared their problems with their managers or teams.
From Zoom fatigue to homeschooling to deep feelings of isolation, we can all relate. And it’s no doubt declining productivity, project delays, tense meetings, dwindling employee retention and morale have become collateral damage in this crisis.
People are under an enormous amount of stress and when left unspoken without choosing vulnerability as an outlet, they can contribute to rising team conflicts with far reaching effects.
1. Be a role model of shared vulnerability
Your’re your team’s closest example of how to be one’s best self at work, so start by sharing your everyday challenges. When you set the bar to make openly sharing feelings encouraged, you’ll inspire others to do the same.
2. Build psychological safety
Fact: Teams are more likely to outperform when members feel confident to speak their mind and take risks (e.g. admitting a project failed, showing emotions under stress) without the fear of consequences. If left open to criticism or negative repercussions, people hesitate to take the very risks needed to succeed.
Small acts, like thanking people when they express their feelings, offering the benefit of the doubt often, or asking what can be learned from failure will go a long way to making your team feel safe.
3. Make empathy part of your team’s culture
Plant emotional intelligence in the heart of your team and watch the peer support grow. When you encourage a way of thinking where reflection and open conversations are business as usual, actively supporting one another becomes second nature.
Remember, it takes courage for your team to put themselves out there. If you lead with vulnerability, acknowledge those who share openly, and build a team who look out for one another, strong team performance (and wellbeing) are sure to follow.
"Meaningful, lasting behavioral change is a complex process, requiring timely personalized guidance. Startups like Valence (formerly Shift) provide teams with a fabric of interactive activities that emphasize mutual feedback and allow them to learn on the job while doing the work they always do."