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Belonging in the Workplace: Getting inclusivity and allyship right beyond pride

As pride draws to a close we thought we would sit down and write this blog on how we can continue all the positive intentions and activism that occurs during June throughout the year. As pride is more than just a flag-waving exercise it’s a celebration of how far the LGBTQ+ community has come and how hard they have fought as well as a reminder that there is still work to do particularly for our cis and hetero allies. 

Pride is not just a month, Instagram post, story repost, or blog (we know ironic) but a genuine approach to how you wish to operate and the future you envision living in. Creating a truly inclusive workplace is beyond just diversity – it is about belonging and ensuring that your colleagues and employees can be their most authentic selves at work. According to HBR letting people be themselves is one of the sure-fire ways to get on the path to creating the best workplace on earth. Nurturing individuality does more than just support the mental health of your employees but can drastically change workplace culture for the better. 

This takes us back to the conversation our founder Cate Murden had last year with futurist Adah Parris on Creating Cultures that Enable Peak Performance. We need to move beyond budget and time with regards to matters of Diversity and Inclusion and focus on belonging. 6.5 million people feel that they cannot bring their whole selves to work and 43% of those people feel like their colleagues don’t really know who they are according to a 2020 Mental Health First Aid Report. We spend at least 8 hours a day in the workplace – so being seen and heard SHOULD definitely matter and be at the forefront of our minds when looking to build a thriving workplace. 

Here are our 5 tips for how you can carry the spirit of pride forward with you over the next year.


1. Allyship is more than just waving a flag once a year.

Remember to carry the spirit of pride with you each and every day. Coming all out in support of LGBTQ+ rights once a year doesn’t battle homophobia or the hate crimes and discrimination members of that community face daily.


2. Lean into discomfort 

Interrogate your organisation and identify what changes are needed and build them into a long-term actionable plan. Rather than a few diversity and inclusion exercises once a year, build a strategy to make your workplace more inclusive that is actionable and worked on throughout the year so that your LGBTQ+ employees feel valued and taken care of day after day.


3. Have a dialogue with your LGBTQ+ employees 

Make sure that your LGBTQ+ employees feel like they have a safe space in which they can express their concerns over treatment and be included in the conversation about the aforementioned actionable plan. Diversity and Inclusion is not a top-down exercise it is a collective effort.


4. Educate yourself

If you’re a leader or frankly anyone and everyone should educate themselves about the trials and tribulations of the LGBTQ+ community. The best way to battle ignorance is to educate and the best way to do that is to be informed by the real lived experiences of LGBTQ+ individuals. 


5. Respect people’s boundaries – empathy is key

Members of the LGBTQ+ community are first and foremost human and individuals. Respect their personal boundaries. Everyone is at a different stage in accepting or understanding their sexual or gender identity. Not all questions are okay nor are jokes, if you have to think twice about it, you may be in need of reevaluating your biases.

Flexible Working: Are We Looking at it all Wrong?

In a world where people across the globe can be connected within seconds, and time zones and distance have long ceased to be barriers to a productive work life, it seems crazy that it’s taken a pandemic to finally give employees the agency to dictate where and when they can work. For a long time, like driverless cars and Amazon drone deliveries, flexible working always seemed a futuristic prospect that would be tried and tested by the Silicon Valley heavyweights before ever reaching us. Finally, almost overnight, people have had more control over their working day than ever before, and it’s an autonomy that many have relished. In fact, a recent report published by PUSH found that 30% of us are anxious about going back into the office full time. 

Now, as we creep back to normality, many leaders understandably want to see staff back in the office – but how to do this while maintaining a sense of employee independence? A hybrid model seems the obvious solution, but how, as a leader, do you approach this? Allowing people to dictate the days they come in, or ordering that staff be in on certain days and not on others. How much say – and indeed sway – should workers have in the workplace revolution? And what does flexible working actually look like  – is it really the location that’s important?

Your future workplace has to take into account the different personalities and circumstances of your people. Maximum flexibility enables employees to work in a way that is convenient and comfortable for them; young employees in small apartments and empty nesters working in cities, for example, may well be craving the sociable, dependable environs of the office, whereas staff with children in the suburbs would happily spend their entire week working from home. Your people are unique; it is unlikely that a one-size-fits-all approach will work for everyone; therefore a focus on choice seems a natural solution. Not to mention dictating hours spent in the office is not the definition of flexible working. 

One of the downsides to this is the risk it poses to office diversity: research suggests that among graduates with young children, women want to work from home full-time almost 50% more than men. There is also the possibility of creating divisions within the workforce: a situation where you have an office group pitched against those working from home isn’t helpful for anyone. Finally, there are the widely acknowledged benefits to working in the same space, among them the direct correlation between innovation and population density, and the fact that working with people can be a cure for social isolation. Ultimately, life and business are better when people come together.

So, how can we work with these varied viewpoints to find the sweet spot for your business? It’s all about creating a framework that is truly flexible. Ask yourself the right questions: How do we make our people feel safe, engaged, motivated; how do we ensure they have the energy and resilience to keep going? If you’re limiting the conversation to ‘is it 2 or 3 days in the office?’, then you’re heading down the wrong track. Flexible working is not about where you work or when you work but how you work. After all, the success of a business depends on the people within it, and it is not where they park their laptop on a daily basis but how they feel about the work in hand that really matters.  

And when you see it like that, then the workplace becomes just another tool, much like email or Slack, one that exists to enable employees to work better – to facilitate communication and nurture creativity and innovation. Because shouldn’t a workplace be able to exist in any location, while still maximising collaboration and socialisation?

It may take some time to create the model that works for you; embrace this as an opportunity to experiment, and resist making final decisions. Try a number of different iterations and setups, encouraging feedback and collaboration from your people – this way you can establish what works for your business and your staff. 

Upskilling is also crucial as we enter this new era, both for leaders and employees. Much more is being asked of our leaders in a post-Covid world – people are looking to them to create new working scenarios that foster innovative, productive and happy employees. However, we know that many leaders are shying away from this challenge, simply because they don’t feel they have the expertise or resources to execute it successfully. Put simply, they know innovation is critical, but they don’t know how to do it. Upskilling staff is also crucial to this process; just as people can be guided on how to best use Slack, email or Zoom, so too can they benefit from an understanding of how best to use flexible working to their and the businesses’ advantage.

In spite of the challenges and big decisions that lie ahead, this has the potential to be a period of real growth for businesses. Listen to the wants and needs of your people and reconcile them with what your company needs in order to prosper. In doing this you can build a system that is truly flexible: a workplace that works for everyone.

State of The Nation: 1 Year Later

Following Boris’s announcement and the end of lockdown in sight, we thought it would be a good time to check-in, reflect and refresh. The start to this year didn’t go quite as we had hoped. We were placed in yet another lockdown, and for many, this was the toughest yet. As we get ready for a more ‘normal’ way of life, it’s a good time to look back to where we were at the start of the pandemic and where we are now. 

What’s Changed? Despite the obvious

Have you developed any new habits or routines you would like to keep up post lockdown? Was there anything you learnt about yourself? Maybe you’ve established a new working pattern or reignited a passion for cycling.

This isn’t a chance for you to beat yourself up for all the things you set out to do and haven’t done. If you haven’t taken up anything new, that’s also ok. Try and put that inner critic to the side. This year has been extremely difficult, and you’ve done more than enough just making it through. Reflecting highlights resilience. Give yourself a pat on the back; the end is in sight. 

If Covid has taught us anything, it’s that we can start over as many times as we like. The pandemic has made us appreciate the things we took for granted. Maybe now is the time to make some plans of what you will do once things begin to open up. Perhaps you want to go to more exhibitions, make more of an effort to see family, or even take a photography class, whatever you want, the sky’s the limit.

 

Returning to Work

Things are Changing

2020 changed the way we work. The world turned digital as we could no longer meet face to face. As a result many companies have adapted and new hybrid working habits have emerged. As many of us get ready to go back to work, things might look a little different post-Covid. At the end of 2020, Microsoft Surface held a survey to gauge the expectations of the UK workforce; 41% of employees surveyed chose not to go into the office since the first lockdown. Looking at new working from home habits, 44% of people are working the same number of hours that they did before, but with a schedule that works best for them. Nearly half (48%) take their full lunch break without feeling guilty most days, and 55% use their lunch break to concentrate on their personal life. Clearly, this new way of working has proved effective, it will be interesting to see what long term changes will take place over the foreseeable future.

According to a Flexa Survey of employees from 180 different companies, only 8% of candidates want to return to working in an office five days a week. This calls for a shift in the way we run things. Now is the chance to be clear on how you want to work as we get this unique opportunity to start over.

Get the Ball Rolling

Despite the new calls for a more flexible working week, some of you will be returning to the office. This might be causing some anxiety after months of working from home. Now might be a good time to get in touch with your colleagues and start up a line of communication. This will mean when you do return, you will feel more a part of the team. This is also a great opportunity to start thinking about if there’s anything you can be doing prior to returning to work so you can come back and hit the ground running.

Harness Your Stress 

We have previously discussed the importance of how we think about stress. As you prepare to get back into the office why not work with your stress and use it to your advantage? Next time you feel your heart beating a little faster and your mind starting to race, take a breath, regard it as an energy-giving tool that will drive you forward in your work and boost your productivity.

Take it slow

Life back in the office may come as a shock to the system; we’ve had a while to get used to working from home; it’s important to go at your own pace. 

 

Returning to Social Life

Set boundaries

As more and more opens up, it will be helpful to set boundaries. Just because more social events will be popping up doesn’t mean you have to say yes to everything. It might feel like you have to do it all but go slow with yourself, try and keep up any self-care activities you have developed and take time for you. 

Stay mindful

Now that we have a clear set of dates to look forward to and June 21st feels like it can’t come soon enough; it may be tempting to wish away these next few months. Let’s shift our mindset and view these last few months of lockdown as something to use to our advantage. Life won’t always be like this; we won’t always have so much time on our hands. Enjoy this slow-paced style of life; treasure these last couple of weeks having your children at home; it will be over before you know it.

The real message here is be kind to yourself. Appreciate what it has taken to get here. Life is not meant to be lived in lockdown; there’s no guidebook to surviving a pandemic. These next few months are going to be different for everyone, go at your own pace and remember you can make your own rules. Now is a time to be hopeful, the end is in sight!

How to Feel F*ckin Awesome Even in Lockdown

Kirsty Hulse, Coach at PUSH, a leading wellbeing and performance company, shares her top tips on How to Feel F*ckin Awesome Even in Lockdown

 

So how do we keep feeling our best and staying on top of our game…even in a lockdown? In a time when keeping a happy work-life balance is increasingly challenging, the value of checking in with your mental health on a day-to-day basis has never been more significant. Kirsty Hulse shares her three practical techniques to stay motivated throughout the pandemic.

In order to let go of something, we first have to hold it. In order to start feeling awesome, it is important to first acknowledge and recognise our emotions. We more often than not, try to force and will ourselves to feel better, which is an incredibly admirable pursuit, but there is a more sustainable, more kind, and more compassionate approach.

It’s fundamental to tend to our mental health frequently and consistently. If the outcome we want is to feel happier, better, and feel more capable, I believe that there are specific activities that can facilitate such a desired outcome. 

 

Small Acts of Self-Care

 

Create a menu of small doable actions that will energise and uplift you when your mental health is suffering. In order to avoid the ‘primal panic state’ natural to human beings when feeling anxious and overwhelmed, take an active approach of creating a personalised list of actions to turn to and complete: singing to a favourite song, taking deep breaths of fresh air from out of your window, calling a close friend, watching a small comedy clip, going for a walk outside, having a quick hug, paying someone a compliment, taking a hot bath, or practicing some yoga positions.

 

The Necessity of Praise

 

The second practical tool to help stay motivated throughout the lockdown is to keep up with positive reinforcement and self-praise. It doesn’t have to be huge, it can be as tiny as finishing a task and taking a moment to think about the good job you’ve done or it can simply be taking a moment to dance. What gets celebrated gets repeated!

There is great value in rewarding our achievements, however, be mindful to allow for inconsistency. The moment that we allow some inconsistency and soften the edges of needing to be perfect all the time, the more likely we are to achieve our personal successes. 

 

The Impact of Language

 

The language we use is so important. It has an impact on how we feel, our emotions, and the way we move throughout the day. There is a vivid connection between our thoughts, feelings, actions, and results. It’s natural for us as human beings, genetically, to focus on the negatives and always calculate risks to certain scenarios, however, we can train ourselves to alter our language and, in turn, construct more positive thoughts.

Take this one step further by writing down positive thoughts using constructive language. Firstly, start the day off right by thinking optimistic thoughts about the day ahead: ‘Today is going to be a good day’; ‘I’m going to have a very rich and varied day’; ‘I am going to learn more today than I knew yesterday’; ‘I can handle anything today brings’. This can be further reinforced by writing down and reflecting on three things that have gone well in your day. Take this as your reminder to dismiss those detrimental thoughts, which will hinder success, and replace them with beneficial ones that will serve you.

 

Good luck! And if you want more check out the full session

Random Acts of Kindness

Sometimes it’s the smallest acts that make the biggest difference.

February 17th is Random Acts of Kindness Day, the perfect opportunity to reconnect and reinvigorate. At the moment, life might be feeling a little less hopeful than usual; we’ve had many of our freedoms and chances for connection taken away from us. If you’re feeling isolated and disconnected, why not try putting some positivity back into the world?

Although we don’t necessarily need a formal day to spread kindness, emphasising this day can help encourage us to break up our everyday routines and do something special for someone else. 

You never know what someone might be going through at any given moment. No matter how small your act may be, the impact might be immeasurable. The feeling of doing something kind for someone else might just shift your mindset too. 

Research has shown that doing something for someone else creates more feel-good chemicals than if someone did something for us. When we spread kindness to others, our bodies actually produce hormones such as serotonin, oxytocin and endorphins that can boost overall wellbeing and health.

Small acts of kindness can also remind us that we are not alone. These can come in many forms, whether through big displays or small gestures, how you choose to be kind is up to you. 

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This year get creative.

We may not be able to see people face to face, but we can still show people we care about them in other ways. An act of kindness can be as simple as checking in with someone, letting them know you’re thinking of them. You never know how much a seemingly insignificant message can change a person’s day. We all feel a bit alone and fed up at the moment; being kind reminds us we are in this together. 

Some Pandemic Friendly Acts of Kindness:

  • Send a funny meme or memory over email or text.
    Receiving a reminder of a memory could remind someone that there is life outside the pandemic and that we will get to see each other soon. This could be the nudge of hope they needed to get through the day.
  • Send flowers
    To yourself or someone else, who doesn’t love receiving a spontaneous bunch of flowers?
  • Leave a good review
    Businesses right now are struggling; a good review can help.
  • Gift your favourite book
    Gifting someone your favourite book can feel like you are giving them a small glimpse of you, it can help you feel connected in times when you can’t see each other face to face.
  • Help out in the kitchen.
    If someone in your family always does the cooking, why not offer to take over today, or simply offer to chop the veg, or do the washing up?
  • Gift a class
    This could be a breathwork class, or perhaps you have a friend or sibling who loves yoga or a HIIT session, this will undoubtedly brighten someone’s day.
  • Be kind to the planet
    Have a plant-based day, use a travel mug for your morning cup of coffee.
  • Shop local
    Smaller businesses are suffering, try offering support by choosing them over your local Tesco today.

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Be Kind to You

As we are spending more time alone this year, what better an excuse than to be kind to ourselves? Only when we take care of ourselves can we truly begin to take care of others; you can’t give from an empty tank. Maybe today can be a day of self-care for you – run a bubble bath, cook yourself something you love, put you first. 

The list of things we can do for others and for ourselves is endless, and the effects are immeasurable. If you do just one kind thing today, we guarantee it will leave you feeling brighter and more connected than where you started. 

For more information on Random Acts of Kindness Day visit https://www.randomactsofkindness.org/kindness-ideas

PUSH State of The Nation: A View on Personal Development

A global crisis such as Covid-19 can be very unsettling to people at a core level, rocking the confidence they have in themselves, their communities, and the government. The pandemic has shaken the normally stable ground that we stand on, taking our world from the safe and secure place we know to a constantly changing, unfamiliar and unpredictable one.

This loss of safety can cause a huge range of emotions to come up, such as worry, fear, and frustration, testing people’s resilience and pushing many to re-evaluate their life choices. 

We know from our conversations that many people are looking at the last few months and wishing they had done things differently. Kicking themselves for not picking up a new job, routine or money-saving scheme before lockdown started. And, since it started, so many people have had good intentions of learning a new skill or picking up a hobby during lockdown. However, the reality it seems, has been a bit different. When restrictions and lockdowns were first put in place, countries shut down quickly and our worlds changed overnight. Now, as the weeks progress and we’ve gotten used to this ‘new normal’, it’s becoming more difficult for people to stay motivated and productive.

But very rarely do we have the opportunity to properly reset, or take time to really consider what we want to be like now and in the future. As hard as lockdown has been, it has given us the unique opportunity to take a breath and think, without the noise and distractions of daily life. Taking that time to do a self audit is extremely valuable for growth and development. Helping pinpoint what matters most to you (your values) and where you want to go in your life (your purpose), in order to thrive.

PUSH Coach Shereen Hoban, personal development coach and facilitator, spoke about the importance of goal setting if we’re keen to create change in our lives.

“When goal setting, it’s helpful to think about your plans in a tangible way. What are you working for? What result is going to make you feel happy, fulfilled or exhilarated? Once you’ve identified your goal – one that’s personal to you, team it with some serious visualisation. Imagine yourself achieving this thing. 

[mkd_blockquote text=”Three in five (58%) people said they are finding it harder to stay positive about the future, and 56% are finding it harder to stay positive day-to-day. ” title_tag=”h2″ width=”75″]

This exercise, widely used by sports-people, can have a truly powerful effect on your mindset, enabling you to work in a more focused way so you can go forward to succeed. Knowing what you want and what you’re working towards means you’re one massive step closer to getting it. If your goal is to simply rest, regroup and spend quality time with your family right now, then just be intentional with it. Enjoy this time and don’t feel guilty for doing what’s right for you.”

Our mindset has a huge impact on our motivation and is key in the success or failure of a task, project or goal. Research suggests that having a growth mindset can help us overcome challenges, due to the belief that skills and abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work. However, as the lockdown continues, it’s becoming harder to stay positive about the future for many. In the UK, three in five (58%) people said they are finding it harder to stay positive about the future, and 56% are finding it harder to stay positive day-to-day. 

[mkd_blockquote text=”The growth mindset allows people to value what they’re doing regardless of the outcome.” title_tag=”h2″ width=”75″]

American Psychologist Carol Dweck is an expert on growth mindset. In her book ‘Mindset: The New Psychology of Mindset’, she spoke on different mindsets, commenting “In the fixed mindset, everything is about the outcome. If you fail—or if you’re not the best—it’s all been wasted. The growth mindset allows people to value what they’re doing regardless of the outcome. They’re tackling problems, charting new courses, working on important issues. Maybe they haven’t found the cure for cancer, but the search was deeply meaningful.” In challenging times it is especially important to try and have a growth mindset, which will help foster creativity and build resilience.

But let’s be honest, most people aren’t going to get up every morning at 5am to do a home workout, before cooking a healthy breakfast and starting work at 9am – and that’s without kids in the mix. And it’s ok to spend time watching TV or scrolling on your phone, allowing yourself to just do nothing. However, it is also important to use this time to try new activities and self-care strategies. 

Starting to build a habit or process around these new activities is almost as important, if not more so, than the actual outcome of the activity. Focusing on small things that we can control, while building healthy habits, can have a transformative effect on mental health. This learning gives individuals something that is fully in their control, unlike the current socio-economic climate. 

Brad Stulberg, author of the book ‘Peak Performance’  and expert on personal and professional development, has developed an equation for achieving growth in any area of your life. Over his years of working as a consultant and business coach, he realised that the key drivers for growth are Stress and Rest. 

We know that stress is most commonly talked about in a negative light. However, Professor Kelly McGonigal explained in her book ‘The Upside of Stress’, that stress can actually be good for us to a certain extent. It is only when that stress becomes too much for too long, that it starts to have a negative impact on our health and wellbeing. 

As humans, we need to feel a certain amount of stress in order to challenge ourselves to do better or learn new things. But we also need to take the time to rest our bodies or minds to allow ourselves to recharge. Brad’s equation for growth is simple, highlighting the importance of both being challenged and resting in order to do our best. 

So, maybe now is the time to use this ‘stress’ as the opportunity to grow, allowing ourselves the time and space to try new things, or focus on areas you may have neglected. This could also be a time to create new routines and structures around your work, school or personal life. To figure out the best way of working for you, and how to top up that resilience bank so you don’t end up overstretched or burnt out. 

Most of all though, it’s important to not become your own worst critic. Beating yourself up over not learning a new language, or doing that workout isn’t helpful and can even be detrimental to your mental health. During this time we should be celebrating even the small wins we have, building that positive growth mindset bit by bit. Because, afterall, the most important outcome is our individual happiness and that should be the focus of every single one of us.

 

Helpful Resources

Up to date Info on Corona

PUSH State of The Nation: A View on Leadership

For many people, with each passing day, the future is becoming more and more uncertain. And as the world wide lockdown continues, companies are dealing with unimaginable challenges which could impact their future success (or failure).

The impact of Covid-19 will be felt far and wide, from the senior executives at Fortune 500 companies, new grads just starting their careers, to health care and essential workers – everyone will be affected in some way, big or small.

Now more than ever, leaders need to step up. Not just for themselves and the future of their business, but for their teams and the individuals within them. We know that many leaders are woefully unequipped to deal with even normal work challenges.

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In 2019, the Human Resource Professionals Association reported that 63% of millennials felt their leadership skills are not being developed, and 77% of organisations felt that they are currently experiencing a gap in leadership skills. Within our corporate audits we have seen a similar theme, with the majority of managers and leaders we spoke to commenting that they have received little to no training on how to best manage their teams. 

So how can we expect leaders to step up when they don’t have the necessary skills or behaviors in place? It is critical for business leaders to be there for their teams, helping them stay informed, giving them the space to be heard, and keeping them motivated and engaged.

During this time especially, it’s becoming more and more apparent that we need to be upskilling managers and leaders, or it could have much larger implications on the overall business and team motivation. Afterall, their role is not to own their teams, leading with fear and aggression, but to guide their teams in the right direction using trust and clear communication to show them the way. 

Arjen Boin, a Political scientist at Leiden University in the Netherlands and co-author of ‘The Politics of Crisis Management’, has spent many years studying how leaders responded to previous emergencies. He found that one of the most important determinants of followers’ trust, was down to the leader’s messaging around the crisis. 

He writes: “Effective crisis leadership cannot be brought about by simply doing the ‘right thing’ on the ground, Instead, the leaders need to craft a good narrative that helps clarify the problem and unite the population if they are to attain the “permissive consensus” that is essential to be able to make decisions and formulate policies”

Over the past few weeks, Gallup has been running weekly comparative surveys to gauge how people’s feelings and beliefs are changing as Covid-19 runs its course. They found that Organisations are becoming more clear in their internal communications, with 52% for respondents saying their employer has communicated a clear plan of action, up 15% from mid march.  The percentage of full-time employees who strongly agree that their manager is keeping them informed on internal matters has also increased from 47% to 54%.

This shows that many company leaders are realising that if they want to survive they need to improve communication. However many organisations are lagging behind, with roughly half of respondents saying that their company hasn’t communicated a clear plan or kept them informed, so there is still work to be done.

Managers and supervisors need to be setting clear expectations, adjusting goals, helping everyone feel connected, creating accountability, and recognising those who are doing great work. In a time of uncertainty, it is imperative that leaders keep their teams anchored to the company’s purpose and values. This is the time to come back to those values to inspire your employees and show them what the future can still look like.

Gallup’s most recent leadership research found that there are 4 key things individuals need from their leaders – trust, compassion, stability, and hope. Leaders must build trust with their teams and show compassion, focussing on protecting their employees wellbeing and leading with purpose throughout this period and beyond. 

A great example of leadership during a crisis can be found within one of the largest hotel chains in the world. In March, Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson sent a video to the entire Marriott team that was genuine, emotional, and honest – demonstrating to his team how much the company cares about their wellbeing and peace of mind. Sorenson shared a clear, concise message that showed the optimism they have for the future, while also informing them on what is being done to face any and all challenges that arise. 

PUSH Leadership Coach Tamson Amara spoke about the struggles leaders are facing, on our regular webinar, Conversations with Cate; 

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“Even leaders have disappointments, setbacks and frustrations to process.  A skillful leader is able to be honest about their own experience and communicate this to the team. For instance, asking the team to bear with them if they are feeling overwhelmed and need space to assess and respond with clarity and direction.  A concept that supports this process – especially in times of uncertainty – is ‘holding’.  

‘Holding’ focuses teams on what is controllable NOW! It directs focus and effort.  Communicating this position may involve re-purposing. For instance, if the purpose of a sales team is to generate revenue, in times of uncertainty holding could mean switching focus from pushing new campaigns to building up the quality of relationships with clients.  Simple, clear messages to support this process go a long way in settling the team and allowing leaders space to respond with longer term strategy,”

So the question is, how can you support your team better throughout this time? How do you lead with trust, compassion, stability and hope?

John Quelch, the Leonard M. Miller University Chair Professor and Vice Provost for Executive Education and Dean of the Miami Herbert Business School at the University of Miami, shared leadership principles to help managers survive this time. 

  1. Stay Calm – everyone will be looking to you as a leader to project a sense of calm amongst the uncertainty.
  2. Be Confident – you need to project the confidence that you will be able to see this through successfully. 
  3. Communicate – in this ‘fake news’ world, it is imperative that you communicate relentlessly to avoid rumors from developing. However a sense of order is also needed to allow for rapid, clear communication as decisions are made.
  4. Collaborate – you aren’t going to know all the answers, and it’s important to call on all of your resources. Engaging employees in this way will also discourage a rumour mill. 
  5. Create a Community – it is more important than ever to create a friendly and helpful environment where the team feels supported and cared for.
  6. Be Compassionate – in a time of crisis this is vital for leaders, be understanding about how it is affecting your team individually, especially when everyone has their own anxieties and stressors coming up.

Crucially, now is the time to upskill your leaders to help them be more conscious, supportive and human. PUSH’s inaugural e-learning programme does exactly that. It has been designed to help leaders and even more junior team members develop better behaviours. This will get everyone working at their best. We call the programme ‘Becoming Superhuman’ as it considers all of the core skills and behaviours needed as a great leader, both of self and others. 

If this situation has taught us one thing, it’s that success and peak performance go beyond just sheer hard work. Sometimes it’s the softer skills which make the greatest difference to hard measures. So, now is the time to do something different. Now is the time to step up. To be a great and truly conscious leader, and start operating in new and innovative ways so that our businesses and people not only survive but thrive.

Helpful Resources

Up to date Info on Corona

PUSH State of The Nation: A View On Mental Health

As we approach our sixth week in lockdown, we wanted to take the opportunity to better understand the impact of Covid-19 on our industry and the minds of our people. 

The pandemic is clearly having a major social and psychological impact on the whole population. We’re seeing Increasing unemployment, families separated and various other changes in the way that we live and work. All of these changes are major psychological risk factors for anxiety, depression and self-harm, with even the most enlightened of fellows hard-pressed to have the full armoury of tools to deal with these current circumstances. 

Social distancing is impacting how we connect, pushing us instead to come together via zoom, facetime and other digital platforms. But the internet is becoming noisy, and the pressure to show up and connect can cause further stress and anxiety for some people. 

[mkd_blockquote text=”Half of people surveyed said that they felt more anxious or depressed than usual as a result of the virus.” title_tag=”h2″ width=”60″]

King’s College and Ipsos Mori surveyed 2,250 people in the UK between 18-75 to see how life in lockdown is affecting individuals. Half of people surveyed said that they felt more anxious or depressed than usual as a result of the virus. They also found that 15% of people are already finding it extremely difficult to cope, and another 14% expect that it will be even more difficult over the next four weeks. 

Kelly Beaver, Managing Director of Public Affairs at Ipsos Mori commented on the survey, saying “It’s becoming clear that people are beginning to suffer due to the restrictions stemming from the Covid-19 outbreak … Very worryingly, a fifth of people already have financial difficulties or think they are very likely to during the crisis, combined with the fact that half of people believe that it’s likely to be a year or more until life returns to normal.” However, we can see a silver lining running throughout the survey, with 60% of people saying that they have volunteered to help people in need during this time. 

So, the question is, what can be done to manage this? Or, can we just assume that as soon as we head ‘back to school’ after all of this is over, that everything will just return to normal and we’ll all be okay?

It became clear from our conversations with clients that they have different strategies when it came to planning for the future. For many, survival is paramount and the impact on individuals is a byproduct – to be left to resolve itself or reviewed at another time.

Others are putting their people and their performance front and centre; creating programmes of support either from the masses of free content available online or curating tailored activity to help manage their needs, circumstances and concerns. In particular, shaping different content for those who were still working versus those who were furloughed.

[mkd_blockquote text=”Whose responsibility is it to support employees?” title_tag=”h2″ width=”60″]

So, this does raise the question, whose responsibility is it to support employees – the companies or individuals themselves? However, the more pertinent question is do we want to have a bright future or one that is impacted by Covid-19 for months, if not years, to come?

How we feel radically impacts our performance and, our on-going conversations with clients and their teams, have already shown that the current context is leaving our people with huge knocks to their confidence. Along with fears that they are not good enough and, worryingly, that they won’t be able to do their jobs properly in the future. 

So, how can we support individuals to have a better armoury to deal with the circumstances being presented to them – supporting not only them but the world of business alike? Most crucially, with teams being systematically restructured and organisations radically reshaped, we need to ensure that the people left in our businesses have both the tools and capacity to not only sustain but grow our organisations.

We believe that self-awareness and self-development are at the heart of the solution. Understanding what is happening in our minds and then having the tools to manage them better. 

Putting a focus on positive wellbeing within your organisation to upskill managers and employees alike is more crucial than ever. Providing programmes of activity which can help your team communicate and collaborate better; become more creative and productive or for your managers to lead more effectively, will make a radical difference to your business in the coming months. 

We have to help our people sit more comfortably in discomfort. They will either have to make or be at the receiving end of tough decisions over the coming months. The way of managing this well is to know that, whilst you might not know what is coming, you will have the tools to deal with it, and survive it, either way. 

However, there is also a huge responsibility on our employees – in particular those who aren’t working and have been furloughed.

Whilst there is a huge temptation to reach for the remote control and spend the next three weeks, numbing, in a Netflix or Sauvignon-tinged vortex. Or, even worse, constantly comparing yourself to everyone else on Instagram and believing that you need to come out of this speaking fluent French or with a six-pack; please don’t. This will have a huge knock on effect on all of our mental health and will become cripplingly hard to return back from.

[mkd_blockquote text=”Let’s make sure that we all step up as humans – for ourselves and each other.” title_tag=”h2″ width=”60″]

Now is the time to develop our people’s resilience so that they can deal with whatever is thrown at them. Now is the time that we have to get really good at asking people how they are feeling and also being prepared to expect or provide an honest answer. Now is the time to dig deep and find our motivation and much maligned discipline and commit to deep personal development and self-care. This is all so that we can all not only get through this but come out of it stronger – understanding and managing ourselves that bit better.

What is happening to us all now is likely, and thankfully, one of the hardest challenges any of us will ever have to face in our lifetimes. Covid-19 has been a wake up call for us all to stop sleepwalking through life and to hit the reset button to ensure that we can propel our way out of this as expediently as possible. So, let’s make sure that we all step up as humans – for ourselves and each other. We need to be certain that we each have the energy, skills and ability to do what’s needed and ensure that we, as individuals, as well as our businesses, come out of this stronger and more powerful than ever before. 

Our survival, and that of our industry, is counting on it.

 

Helpful Resources

Up to date Info on Corona

Conversations with Cate

Continuing our commitment to supporting everyone over these coming weeks, we have a brilliant session planned every Friday lunchtime that we’re calling ‘Conversations with Cate’—oh the power of simple alliteration!

Each week our founder Cate Murden will be in conversation with one of our brilliant team of coaches sharing valuable insights that will help us all get through this – whether you’re a leader considering how to support your team and ensure that you all still achieve what’s necessary or if you’re working remotely for the first time and need to think how to work differently but still perform at your best.

Join us at 12 noon every Friday to hear some awesome knowledge. Click HERE to catch up on all of our previous sessions! Or join the webinar here!

CHEVY ROUGH: Unlocking Your Energy, Focus, & Critical Thinking

Do you feel stuck in first gear, trying to up your game but for some reason not able reach fifth?

After turning his life around from depression, drink and drugs, Chevy found a skill set supporting others to find their career paths. His purpose is focused on human performance and mindfulness, and how to approach training mindfully, while making holistic changes to keep moving, including life and career goals.

For our first Conversations with Cate we sat down with Chevy, wellbeing specialist. With so many different aspects within wellness, Chevy focuses on harnessing and understanding your energy to maximise critical thinking and focus. 

In short, Chevy helps people and organisations develop mindset, behaviours and tools required to improve mental, physical, and social health. 

Top 5 Takeaways

  1. Time is not the metric to success, energy and focus are. Which is why understanding the relationship between stress and rest is vital. 
  2. Learning to switch off is a constant experiment. A/B test what works for you depending on how you feel that day
  3. Understand all the ‘stress cycles’ that you run throughout the day and improve closing them down so that you can rest and repair inbetween – and come back with more focus
  4. Listen to yourself. Build a relationship with your inside view, knowing yourself is key to understanding your energy spent.
  5. Get better at ‘doing what you said you would’ – if you don’t, you will waste energy thinking about all the stuff that you should be doing!

Find the whole episode on youtube now to see how you can better harness your energy and take yourself to fifth gear!

KIRSTY HULSE: How to be Confident & Resilient in Times of Uncertainty. 

The power of positivity can feel a bit woo-woo, but the truth is it has a real and tangible effect on everything from mindset to confidence to planning. 

Kirsty Hulse is a confidence coach who understands that we all have the confidence to choose how we feel and what we focus on, it’s about learning how to unleash it that’s key. We had the chance to sit down with her and talk about what confidence means now, and how can we all create the best backdrop to make good plans, especially in times like these. 

Top Takeaways:

  1. Creating your state comes from a combination of physiology and mindset, consider how you are supporting your different energy sources – physical, mental, emotional and social. 
  2. In challenging times we must pivot and plan from a place of neutrality. Both negative and positive states would create delusional responses.
  3. Confidence is another way of saying trust—in your abilities, in your self— and comes from your personal experiences. Confidence is the key to building a more positive mindset.  
  4. By managing your expectations, you will have a huge impact on your perspective. Anxiety, disappointment and anger come from your expectations being too high. 
  5. It’s about radical acceptance of your actions, not looking at them with guilt. 
  6. Understanding your beliefs is key in getting in touch with your inner dialogue. Auditing your current beliefs can help you to make real changes, giving you insights into why you make certain decisions and reevaluate. 
  7. Planning from positivity technique: 
    1. Picture yourself in the future when this is a memory; where are you? What are you doing? Wearing? Feeling? 
    2. How did you get to this place? What milestones were necessary to reach this point?

Find the whole episode on youtube here to see how you can change your mindset and start planning from a place of positivity. 

christmas-tree

5 mindset shifts to combat festive stress at work

Since the start of December, conversations in the office and socially have turned to the busy run up before the holidays. These few weeks seem to catch us off guard every year. There’s a strange combination of enjoying the festivities and pressure to have it all figured out. If we aren’t grunting about endless shopping lists, personal admin, deadlines and Christmas songs, we’re enjoying mulled wine, mince pies and decorating trees.

The less enjoyable aspect of the season is mounting deadlines and increased workload. The final push to the finish line before a new year begins. Pile on top of that performance reviews, year-end reporting and 2020 planning. It’s a lot to cram in and we’ll be wishing for more December working days in no time.  

 

Whilst we might not be able to change our circumstances or alter timelines, we can change how we think about stress to help us cope better. Let’s take a look at 5 ways to think differently and combat the stressful festive season.

 

  1.     You don’t have to do it all

When we are stressed, our bodies release cortisol which reduces our critical thinking capacity and instead of being able to problem solve, our heart rate rises, and we begin to panic. You can’t pour from an empty cup, so get great at saying no, prioritising and putting your health first.

 

  1.     December is like any other month

There’s an invisible mental gap between December and January – like the new year is at the end of a long road. The reality is, January is just around the corner. Take December down a peg and take the pressure off. There’s no denying that expectations are present (forgive the pun) but remembering that we aren’t about to enter the twilight zone can provide some relief.

 

  1.     There are more things to talk and think about

You are what you speak. Next time someone asks you about your Christmas plans, who’s coming round on the big day or how many gifts you’ve bought, know that you can politely move on to other topics. The latest season of The Crown, a hot new restaurant or the Man Booker prize winners are all viable small talk – just don’t bring up politics.

 

  1.     Bring the cheer

Every person in the office has an opportunity each day to influence the mood of the team. Be open, communicate, but know when not to share. Stress is contagious and must be dealt with like you would any other illness. In private and with the right treatment. Looking after ourselves is a priority and one not to be taken lightly.

 

  1.     Show your appreciation

You know what they say, it’s the season of goodwill. Shifting your lens in the workplace to one of appreciation can lift your spirits and remind you of the great bits. A simple cup of tea, ‘good morning’ or smile can have positive effects on our own mood as well as someone else’s. We are all in the same boat after all!

 

Helping companies and the people within them enjoy work more and stress less is what we do. Want more? Take a look at our Workshops for a winning mindset in 2020. We will also be sharing more tips over on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to launch our 12 days of PUSHness. Join us to prepare for an amazing end to the year and super start to the next one!

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