Creating Workplace Awareness Are You Noticing Your People?
Date Posted: Thu, 09 Jun, 2022
Too busy to stop working and give yourself or staff the time for personal attention?
It sounds cliché and over-talked about, the need for management and staff to slow down, take time to pay attention and become mindful. This is because studies and research demonstrate the need for greater emotional and wellbeing inside and outside of work. So, why when we spend so much time at work, shouldn’t we start there?
I have come across organisations who run on empty and expect staff members to stay late and perform. Some companies, departments and teams have high attrition rates and management refuses to pay attention to underhand behaviours, over-stretch their staff or lack emotional intelligence. The WHO has WHO has now defined burn-out as "a syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed".
As emotional well-being and mental health continue to get the attention they need, companies are adopting various methods and ways to support their staff. The well-being of staff spans the entire organization whether it is the CFO to the junior analyst, we all have our needs and employers must recognize this.
As a leader what are you willing to do and change to support yourself and your people? Rather than waiting before it is too late and staff become burnout, some of the ways in which companies can adapt is by taking the ownership and looking at their strategies.
A recent study by the CIPD found that “Just 37% of employees are satisfied, while 34% are dissatisfied, with how their organisation dealt with the conflict or difficult relationship; almost half (48%) felt ‘the other person’s interests took precedence over mine’” (https://www.cipd.co.uk/Images/managing-conflict-in-the-modern-workplace_tcm18-70655.pdf). This is an indication that management and leaders need to pay attention and notice what is going on around them.
Some ideas of what leaders can do
1. Observe others
By noticing and becoming aware of what is going on around you and with your people, you will be able to gauge the sentiment of your staff. Just because someone isn’t vocal about the way the feel, does not mean they are ok. Look at the way staff interact, is there a clique culture brewing which needs a discussion or are the same people always staying back late.
I have seen examples of people working late all the time, there is a difference between working because there is work to be done and staying at work for some other reasons. Think about being a leader who notices and trusts their instincts about someone who may need some attention from you.
2. Listen with attention
Managers sometimes fail to listen or do not want to believe what is being said. If for example, some is feeling like they are not getting the support of their colleagues or need an extra pair of hands, then the staff member is voicing their concerns for action to be taken. Show then that you are willing to follow up and do something about it. You may not be able to give them another resource, you can work with them to find another solution.
Many people want to share their experiences, feelings and concerns. The act of talking and knowing someone is being listened to provides support and comfort and staff know when they are being listened to. An example could be that a staff member is facing challenges or being bullied by their colleague, they may not be so direct about it, the listening of the verbal and non verbal cues can give a great insight into what the person is experiencing.
The process is not always comfortable and makes us question so much about who we are and our behaviours. Why is this important in the workplace, once we become self-aware, we realise how we are and deal with situations and circumstances. As an example, a person may be short-tempered and be unaware about their behaviours and reactions of others. During the process of becoming self-aware, we learn to understand who we are and how we are. It is not an overnight job, in fact, it is a hard work and painful, because change isn’t easy and really seeing who we are can be painful and at the same time beautiful.
There are many ways to cultivate self awareness ranging from practicing meditation, journaling, asking yourself the big and small questions, speak to trusted people in your life and get feedback from others and see how you can use it on yourself.
Whatever approach leaders and managers take to create a healthier and emotionally centered team, department or company, the ability to have awareness is a skill to hone. People need people and staff need their leaders to lead with their interests at heart.