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Resilience in the Workplace

Resilience in the Workplace - Empathetic Managers who know how to support their teams resilience, require flexibility in today's workplace. To be successful in this new hybrid environment, managers must lead with empathy and have some new tools available to them. We need to discover for ourselves why building resilience and agility (strategic, operational and behavioural) is critical to revitalise and refine organisations and businesses for these uncertain times. In a 2021 Gartner survey of 4,787 global employees assessing the evolving role of management, it concluded only 47% of managers are prepared for this future role. The most effective managers of the future will be those who build fundamentally different relationships with their employees, building resilience and showing empathy. The empathetic manager Empathy is nothing new. It’s a common term in the arsenal of good leadership, but it has yet to be a top management priority. The empathic Manager is someone who can contextualise performance and behaviour, who transcends simply understanding the facts of work, and proactively asks questions and seeks information to place themselves in their direct reports mindset. Empathy requires developing high levels of trust and care and a culture of change and flexibility within teams. Developing leadership capabilities This is a lot to ask of any Managers without training. They will need to ask questions that discuss vulnerable answers without compromising trust, diagnose the root cause of an employee’s behaviour without making assumptions, and demonstrate the emotional intelligence necessary to imagine another’s feelings, whilst juggling their own workload and challenges. To do this we will need to develop the leadership capabilities of our Managers to help our teams succeed, enabling resilience to be built at every level of the organisation. Six models that can be used Here we share six models that can be used in the workplace to enhance the teams resilience: Coaching helps people find their own resilience and capacity, even when we can’t change the external landscape. Any coach worth their salt knows to focus on the client, not the issue, but do your Managers know this? When people are, “looking within” through coaching, they see more possibility and find more internal resilience. This restores some sense of control in what feels like an uncontrollable world. Make sure your managers are converting even 10 minute conversations in to coaching opportunities. When stress is reduced through coaching, people have more access to creativity, empathy, and resilience, all of which are critical right now. Commit to Building Each Other’s Resilience: It’s essential to establish clear and unambiguous expectations around team unity and peer-to-peer support. Any hesitation or reluctance to help a struggling colleague is a sign that deeper interventions may be needed. Ultimately, team resilience is similar to a battery. It needs to be restored and recharged regularly. Teams that put in place measures to do that will find that they are better equipped and more importantly willing to undertake any challenge beyond the pandemic. Back to basics : Ensure all your team know the organisations why, the mission, values and strategy, as this will enhance resilience. Everyone will feel they are pulling in the same direction. Build on our natural ability to build our mental resilience through mindfulness. Mental resilience, especially in challenging times like the present, means managing our minds in a way that increases our ability to manage our thoughts. Resilience is the skill of noticing our own thoughts, unhooking from the non-constructive ones, and rebalancing quickly. This skill can be nurtured and trained. “Resilience is not a trait that you either do or do not have. It involves behaviours, thoughts and actions that can be developed in anyone”. It is the ability to bounce back quickly from unexpected challenges. If you can learn techniques for yourself, and others, to reduce stress, anxiety and strain under unpredictable and unstable times, this will improve resilience. Focus on finding ways to inspire yourself and others to step up, by focusing on the teams strengths, so they quickly feel they can lead and thrive again rather than just resuming the old normal. Do your own inner work You will need to ensure you have an ability to remain positive about the future even when you don't know what's coming next. Planning Make sure you plan in some focused time to stop, think and reflect on what you and your teams need to do. Actions to consider to build resilience Build your confidence in identifying complexity and your ability to anticipate where problems are most likely to arise, so that you can determine where resilience is required. Create a focus group within your leadership team, this is not a time to go it alone Understand the key organising principles for making your business more resilient and how these can be turned into new management practices. Make sure you are sharing guidance with your Managers.  Gain new perspectives, insights and tools that will help build individual and team resilience. Skylite offers a Resilience Workshop and a Staff training Workbook for Managers on Resilience. Email Louise Cantrill for a chat at:  Reflect on your own resilience as an individual and develop strategies to succeed when faced with difficult circumstances. Empathy for Managers and Leaders will not be easy, but it’s worth it. In fact, in that same survey already mentioned, 85% of HR leaders agreed that it’s more important now for managers to demonstrate empathy than it was before the pandemic. Further Gartner analysis shows that Managers who display high levels of empathy have three times the impact on their employees performance than those who display low levels of empathy. Employees at organisations with high levels of empathy-based management are more than twice as likely to agree that their work environment is inclusive. (Info source HBR) Support from Skylite Contact us for a FREE Resilience Flipbook: To find out more or book a webinar for your organisation, contact Skylite Associates today: t: 01736 756295 | m: 07808 277767 | e:  

Stress At Work

Stress At Work In this global pandemic, we're used to wearing masks. What's your style? Professional black? Cool navy, with stripes perhaps, or fashionable florals? Each to our own and - because it's the law - we’re all wearing them: Hands, Face, Space - to save lives. But now we're beginning to head back to work after lockdown (or perhaps, sadly, losing our jobs), what about the other type of mask - the invisible type, the one called 'Fake Smile'? Have you ever worn one of those masks, the 'Put on a Brave Face' type, to disguise the tears, the frustration and yes, the stress? Chances are you have, especially in the workplace.  Whilst we're happy to admit to a broken leg, or a bout of mild Covid, we're often reluctant to admit to anxiety or stress; our mental health remains shrouded in fear, shame and secrecy, whether we're the boss, or the newest recruit. One in four of us experience mental health problems of some kind each year The mental health charity MIND says one in four of us experience mental health problems of some kind each year, much of it relating to anxiety, depression and stress. But there's something about putting on our suit or tie, carrying work tools out of the van, or marching into the office post-lockdown that prompts us to put on a display of professionalism, and tip-top performance, and shove to one side our vulnerability. So many of us grab that invisible mask from deep in our pockets, stretch it over our ears and smile cheerily, with the message: ‘Yes, I'm Fine Thanks'. That's all well and good...until it isn't. Stress knows no boundaries Stress can creep up on us, it knows no boundaries, targeting anyone from the CEO down to the apprentice; cracks emerge in the mask, we go off sick. It can create anxiety and depression, a weakened immune system, stomach aches, soaring blood pressure for some, insomnia for others. It's a costly business. It’s estimated mental health-related sickness cost UK businesses around £14 billion in 2020, with companies facing problems with teamwork and concentration, reduced productivity, and having to pay out huge sums to replace staff who leave jobs. When the real cause of the sickness is masked in silence and secrecy, with many unable to admit to the levels of stress we're under, the issue remains unresolved. Financial Resources Various websites can help. It's worth checking out a computer search on “money comparison sites” for helpful hints and tips to reduce your overheads and get a better deal than what you are currently paying. It is also worth checking out, which has all the government websites in one place, including advice on any benefits you may be entitled to. It’s all about balance Fortunately, increasing numbers of companies are beginning to recognise that it's in their interests, especially when it comes to the financial bottom line, to ensure staff are not overwhelmed at work. Motivated staff, rather than stressed out staff, are more likely to be productive. Last year, around 8 out of 10 businesses reported a renewed focus on the mental and physical health of employees. Research shows that the way forward lies not in getting rid of all stress, but achieving a balance, because while stress can be harmful and make us sick, in the right doses it can also be good for us; it can fire up our brain, boost our performance, inject energy, and improve focus. Raise self-awareness and address the problem of stress head on The key to achieving this balance means addressing the problem head on. It helps to understand what stress is, to tune in to what's really going on for us, to raise self-awareness, change our habits and, if necessary, reach out for help. We've all experienced the physical impact of stress as we respond to 'danger', including the beating heart, faster breathing, sweating, a rise in blood pressure, flushed cheeks - all changes linked to the activation of our fight, flight or freeze mechanism. Over time, many of us ignore these changes and just 'get on with the job'. In the short-term, this repression can work, and we can live a high-powered life in the fast lane. Problems arise when this constant denial of danger continues relentlessly, year after year. We may also act differently under extreme stress. We may lose perspective and focus, become anxious or depressed, feel overwhelmed, stuck or confused, and become unable to make decisions, feeling insecure or trapped. Yet, we can become so good at denying the impact of stress that all too often we're not even aware of the dangers to ourselves, let alone noticing it in our colleagues. Instead of enhancing our working lives it can have the opposite impact; over time we topple from soaring confidence to a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion - burnout. What can we do to reduce our levels of stress? What can we do to help reduce levels of stress, and create a healthy balance? Well, the usual stuff, such as eating well, exercising, and getting a good night's sleep. We can also learn mindful techniques, take up yoga, or do breathing exercises. It's also helpful to take stock every now and again, tune in to how we're really feeling, and ensure stress levels remain manageable, rather than creeping into the sense of overwhelm. If we're leading a team at work, we could encourage walking groups, or organise wellbeing sessions, keep an open door policy, and welcome staff who come and chat, ensure they feel at ease with asking questions or raising concerns. Offer constructive feedback, ensure staff take the holidays and breaks they deserve. Be positive. Importantly, we need to be aware of our own masks, as well as those of others. Are we aware of putting on a 'Yes, I'm Fine' mask? Is our colleague doing the same? Check in, and if the reality is that we're not fine, then consider adjusting workloads. Can we say, 'no, sorry' to extra responsibility, or

Money Management – Getting your finances in order.

Money Management Tony Lippett - Skylite Career Coach Getting your finances in order is a perfect way to reduce one aspect of daily stress, so you know where you are financially, at any given time. With so much turmoil in the world at the moment, there has never been a better time to take control of your personal finances. Start to plan ahead and budget with your money to avoid the unexpected surprises that catch you unawares!  So many people have cleared debt during lockdown. It's important though to put the foundations in place to avoid a rerun, when the world returns to normal, and the shops and restaurants reopen fully. Financial Management Financial management is about discipline, planning and monitoring. It should be incorporated into the running of every household. We can take you through what is needed to prepare a budget, closely examining income and expenditure, and breaking things down to essential and non essential spending. Detailed Planning There has to be detailed planning to keep to any budget constraints, with an element of planning ahead, emphasising the importance of looking long term to avoid future shocks that will destroy all your hard work. Things like Christmas or birthdays that come up every year, but often get overlooked despite the substantial costs associated with these family events. Financial Resources Various websites can help. It's worth checking out a computer search on “money comparison sites” for helpful hints and tips to reduce your overheads and get a better deal than what you are currently paying. It is also worth checking out, which has all the government websites in one place, including advice on any benefits you may be entitled to. Money isn’t Complicated Money isn’t complicated, it's actually very simple.  Like everything worthwhile, it just needs some time and effort spent on it.  Getting your finances in order is a perfect way of reducing one aspect of daily stress so you know where you are financially at any given time. To find out more or book a webinar for your organisation, contact Skylite Associates today: t: 01736 756295 | m: 07808 277767 | e:  

5 steps to Improving Employee Engagement. Leadership, Employee Engagement & Coaching

5 steps to Improving Employee Engagement: Leadership, Employee Engagement & Coaching. Kaidi Bowen - Skylite Executive ICF Career Coach As I’ve studied employee surveys and results, it’s astounded me how many people would trade their next pay rise for their immediate line manager to be replaced. (Even for them to be sacked!) Employee engagement is a topic I thought I’d never have to think much about. As a manager or leader it can be difficult to feel you can impact the results when so many areas are outside of your sphere of control. It is for the people at the very top of big companies right?  In any leadership role we have a fundamental responsibility to influence employee survey outcomes. It matters what our teams feel, what they are thinking, because wherever you work and whatever you do, each person can influence the engagement of the people around you. We all have a responsibility where we work. It's not just your chance to influence the hearts and minds of your team when it’s the survey time of the year. Their voice should echo your company’s mission and values without intervention. The survey is your opportunity to understand how you can make where you work better. It’s not just about briefing your team beforehand, about all the good things  that are happening either, it goes much deeper.  Engaged employees are happier There is a lower chance of them leaving their company. They are more satisfied with their jobs, and perform better. The key to employee engagement for the leadership team is capturing the hearts and minds of the employees, so they are willing to offer more of their capability and potential. If, right now, the employees are doing that anyway because they are forced into it by staff shortages and increased workload, the workforce will inevitably become stressed or want to leave. This impacts businesses much more quickly, with loss of experience, increasing overall costs, making the company less profitable due to turnover costs and sickness absence. If you manage anyone or lead a team, ask yourself, are you being the boss that people want to work for or more importantly are you being the person you want to be? You can really be the catalyst for change. Even if you are not a senior manager, as a member of a team, the way you interact will impact on people’s lives. Perhaps you could even be a better colleague to your peers, collaborating more. Martin Luther King said, “A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus, but a moulder of consensus”. All of us can be leaders in our own way. Real Leadership Real leadership can be the catalyst for change in your team which then has a ripple effect. If you aren't sure how to make a difference starting today, start with knowing yourself better, then you can better support those around you. Here are 5 thoughts around improving engagement where you work: Step 1 If you haven't already, invest in a coach to help you discover your life purpose, your passion. Get to know your values and limiting beliefs. Once you understand yourself, you will be able to influence the lives of the people who work around you. Being the best version of yourself will uplift everyone. Step 2 If you don't do it already, learn to coach. (ICF defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires others to maximise their personal and professional potential - If Managers are great at telling people what to do, then the job gets done. However, staff are often demotivated, undervalued and lack creativity and inspiration. By coaching, staff become empowered. You are enabling them to think for themselves, taking responsibility for their actions. Coaching builds confidence, making change easier to embed. When you coach others, you trust people to choose their own goals and people can surprise you. They will challenge themselves more than you would ask them to do. This is especially important, post Covid. Step 3 Be the leader that leads by example. Once embedded, coaching will free up more time and it will prevent “Groundhog Day” conversations. Through coaching, you will learn to ask powerful questions, to elicit personal growth within your team. By doing this, you will be encouraging and developing them. You will be helping them experience the greatest motivators, which are shown on surveys to be above money. They are self-development and positive feedback “recognition”. Step 4 Be flexible. Technology has changed the way we work. Mobiles and emails are with us 24/7. We often answer emails on our days off, make calls out of hours. I've even been skiing on the top of a freezing mountain where guys have stopped to take a business call! Is this you? This shift in work-life balance means, as leaders, we are all giving and asking more. But are we managing the effects of this in return? Little things like providing WIFI so people can manage their lives at work, access to healthy snacks, exercise facilities, use of office equipment to name a few. What could make a difference for your team? Lastly, I want to leave you with this thought: “If we do nothing, everything doesn't stay the same”  It's just another way of saying, people always need support and development, because the workplace is constantly changing, so we can't just keep doing what we have always done. Has this got you thinking What difference could you make today?

Humane Leadership; How Do We Lead Post Covid

Humane Leadership; How Do We Lead Post Covid? Louise Cantrill - Managing Partner - Skylite Associates For most of us those early stages of this pandemic were a bit of a sprint. I have seen organisations transform in days – areas that would have taken years to complete normally with huge numbers of people working from home.    We were working on Agile and Flexible plans with organisations in the Public Sector back in only last February and well that got taken over! We watched as shops, bars and restaurants switched to delivery-only models. My local pub opening a wonderful takeaway service to survive – which is now closed again!   We are also grappling with the complexities of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, furloughing staff rather than let them go, with the government paying 80% of the wage bill. After hearing the word furlough at the horse races it is now an everyday word - 9.5 million jobs furloughed! Who would thought this back at the beginning of last year? However, a year later, it has become painfully, exhaustingly clear that what we thought was a sprint, was actuall,y a marathon. The additional adrenaline rush – that we felt ourselves - of new ways of working wore off. People are fatigued and fed up.  As you know we speak with HR leaders on a regular basis. This fatigue has only increased with leaders and managers looking for external support and peer connection. Something that has raised its head in recent weeks through these conversations is what I think of as a “fracturing” of the workforce. Many organisations now know when they can bring people together physically, but the more challenging issue—one that can’t be solved with one-way walking systems and Perspex screens—is bringing people back together psychologically. Organisations of all sizes and across all sectors and regions have such a disparity of employee experiences of the pandemic, that creating a sense of “oneness” is a formidable task. “That sense of ‘we’re all in this together’ has long gone,” one chief people officer reflected recently. Another, rather gloomily, added: “The kindness has left the room.” It’s being replaced with resentment (Why am I putting myself in danger every day while my colleagues sit at home on full pay?) and anxiety (Am I going to lose my job?). We are seeing cracks appear.  There are always challenges with staff – we wouldn’t have a business if there weren’t but this crisis made things more visible and more profound. As a Covid survivor myself lets pull no punches this is a matter of life and death.  This uniqueness of experience challenges the concept of fairness. How can you be fair and consistent when the spectrum of needs varies so dramatically? Should you even try? Fed up with furlough or angry about staying on Reluctant returners against those that can’t wait to get back Covid casual as opposed to Covid concerned Rather than trying to second guess the future ways of working we see the need to recognise how individual our working experiences of the pandemic have been. And more than recognise, we need to care.  As INSEAD management professor Gianpiero Petriglieri put it recently: “We need more humane leadership. We need leadership to care, with a bigger focus on community, connectivity, and bringing people together.” Compassion and humanity will be key at all levels to knitting back together a psychologically fractured workforce. The question for leaders then, is as much about how to engender empathy, as it is about what the new, post-COVID-19 strategy should be. As human behaviour is messy and unpredictable, there are no easy answers to solving this but being as open and inclusive as we can be, where honest conversations are welcomed. And we need to give people voice and choice. Autonomy in our ways of working is sorely lacking right now. Enforced home working, without the option to go into the office or a café for a change of scene, is not the same as flexible working, as it lacks the element of choice. Moving forward, we are going to need to be innovative, creative, and compassionate to engage, motivate, and connect our teams. Fostering togetherness will not be easy. We can at least start by acknowledging the incongruity of experience within our workforces and building from a place of honesty and compassion.