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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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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.

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