How to lead tired people – when you’re tired yourself

Almost everybody complains about the fatigue. It affects everything: decision-making, productivity, customer relations and more. In this episode, Taryn talks about four different kinds of fatigue and how to support your team, even when you’re tired yourself.

Check out this episode!


The one leadership trick you need to energise your online meetings

After 62 hours of talking to senior leaders about how the pandemic has affected the world of work, Taryn is now going through the transcripts to extract the findings.

Here she talks about how the lack of rituals around online meetings destroys community — and shares a quick hack that will help you get it back!

Check out this episode!


Can you integrate love and professionalism?

I was working with a wonderful group of leaders recently about owning the impact they have in their environment and the importance of self-awareness.

One of the participants had such a powerful insight that she is a deep believer in love as a core philosophy but she doesn’t bring this into her work.


I asked her, how do you integrate love and professionalism?
This created such a beautiful insight that we often have these as mutually exclusive facets of ourselves.

As we move towards a more compassionate and humane leadership style, I long to see love, kindness and empathy as key traits of being professional.

What do you believe about professional love?


How to bring life-force back into the workforce

How do you bring life-force back into the workforce?

You start by acknowledging that people need community, meaning, boundaries and the right to live according to their own values. When we recognise and embrace the diversity in our common human experience, we can unlock joy, purpose, meaning and creativity at work. We can bring the life-force back into the workforce.

If you have a team and would like to see them bring their life force to work, listen to this episode.

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How to take your team from Coping to Creating

When the pandemic struck, Taryn offered her clients an online course on the emotional impact teams could expect during the coming months. She named five phases.

  1. Numbness
  2. Coping
  3. Feeling
  4. Creating
  5. Integrating

In this week’s episode, she discusses how most of the people she’s spoken to are stuck in the “coping” mode.

They’re being productive, but they’re hanging on by their fingernails. Leaders need to do something, she says. They just don’t know what it is.

She offers a bridge between the world of “coping” to the world of creativity, innovation and a normal workday.

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Most corporate wellness programs get this one key thing wrong

People whose employers don’t offer corporate wellness programs say they would definitely use them.

People whose employers do offer wellness programs find that the wellness program actually adds to their sense of overwhelm. When you have a day with back-to-back online meetings and hundreds of emails to process, it’s hard to find another hour to attend the wellness session.

Mostly, leaders themselves aren’t using the wellness programs they are creating for the employees. The whole system seems broken.

In our research, we found one unexpected thing that is reducing overwhelm in the people we talk to.


The one leadership skill you need to increase engagement

After 42 hours of listening to people’s experiences of work, in this episode, Taryn is talking about how nobody wants to go back to the office full time. Only 3 people out of the 42 have said they would consider going back to the office full time.

People are meeting in person, but they’re not going to the office. They’re meeting in restaurants and coffee shops. Does this mean the office needs to turn into a coffee shop?

Even if you go back to the office, the work is all online. So your team meetings and client meetings are still happening on the screen, and offices aren’t set up for that. The WiFi can’t cope with all the simultaneous on-line meetings, the open-plan offices don’t give people enough privacy and are too noisy for effective online work.

In the mean time, the job of a leader stays the same: build engagement, team cohesion and a sense of purpose. Before March 2020, leaders could say they were building engagement and community because people were together in the office. But that wasn’t necessarily the case.

The leadership opportunity is to use become intentional and skilled at building the employee experience and meaningful team engagement. How can leaders use the online meeting tools as ways of building connection, not as task management tools?

Listen to the podcast to find out more.


Two things leaders can do so people take the support that is offered them

Nine out of 10 people I interviewed this week said they never wanted to go back to the office. But many people are taking strain working from home.

On a pure physical level, a third of people I spoke to this week say they see a physiotherapist weekly or fortnightly. This is because their home office chair and desk are causing them injuries. 

Is a frequent physio appointment now a normal part of self-care? 

Aside from the physical injuries people are suffering, there is also emotional distress. Here, at least, companies we surveyed almost universally understand the need for trauma counselling, grief counselling for people who have lost family members or friends, or coaching and psychotherapy.

Worryingly, there has been very little take-up.

Leaders we surveyed really want their teams to take advantage of their wellness programs, and sell them hard.

There are two disconnects we are seeing:

1. Leaders themselves aren’t taking advantage of the emotional support programmes. They don’t demonstrate vulnerability and still think that using the very programmes they are sponsoring, is a sign of weakness or incompetence. These services are only for people who “aren’t coping.”

2. If ordinary people are staying away from the emotional support they have been offered, maybe they don’t trust how the information will be used. It feels like attending a session of trauma counselling paints a target on your back of not being “strong enough” to cope. And we all know what happens to those people. 

Or perhaps there is just no space in their day to use this offering, given the back to back meeting culture that exists. 

If leaders want their team members to take the support they are being offered, maybe it’s time for leaders to lead from the front. Maybe they could go first. Maybe they can talk about useful things their therapist or coach said and how it helped them cope with what they’re going through.

And at the very least, they could make sure their team members have chairs and screens and desks that don’t injure them at work.

What has been your experience regarding this? We curious to see how this story unfolds with the continued research. 

About this research:

WTFH is a research project that looks at how the world of work is being impacted by the pandemic and asks: Where To From Here (WTF-H). These blog entries are impressions we gained across multiple interviews. 

These are not the official findings as yet.


What is it like to be on the receiving end of you?

What is it like when your boss walks into a room? How do people react? How does the dynamic change in the room?

What about when the CEO walks in? Or your biggest client?

You know what it’s like for you, when they walk in. But now think about how the dynamic changes when it is you who is entering that space, whether it’s in person or on a video call.

Do you like the impact you have on other people when you enter their space? Do you even know how they experience you?

Your presence is always felt by others, whether you are in a meeting, in a conversation with someone, sitting across the dinner table or walking into a shop. Your presence matters always.

As you advance in your career and become more senior, the meaning of your presence in people’s lives changes. The more you understand how you impact the people you are dealing with, the more you can choose that impact consciously and wisely.

One way of finding out is by watching what happens when you leave the room. Are people energised or drained when you leave? Another way is to facilitate a team conversation to help you move towards the impact you want to have.

How did you find out about the impact you have? Let me know in the comments.


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