Fear is present in the workplace, whether we realise it or not. Uncertainty, feelings of disconnect and difficult employee-employer relationships pose psychological threats to our people.
Well, at least that’s the fancy way of saying if your team doesn’t feel comfortable at work they aren’t going to be giving you their best work.
And I think, subconsciously, this is something as leaders and management are well aware of, but we don’t do enough to ensure that our teams are feeling safe at work.
Now we know how much knowledge plays a role in keeping out teams safe while they complete manual tasks.
But what about their emotional well-being?
How many resignation letters have you seen hit your desk with mental health or stress listed as a reason for them discontinuing their employment with you?
Worse yet, how many times have you seen companies having to pay the price for not having better mental health policies or welfare policies in their workplace?
While you may not be in the position to instate new policies in your business you can be a leader who shows up for your team’s well-being.
So below are my 3 tips for helping to create an emotionally safer work environment for you and your team.
- Stop the trickle-down. Just because your higher-ups might be anxious or stressed and demanding things be done, doesn’t mean you need to pass this same energy on to your team. Let them know the priorities but you don’t need to stress them out, as this stress actually lowers their ability to perform well overall. They may be more likely to take shortcuts or not report back on issues if they think you will blow up at them. Stop the trickle-down and be the leader that blocks the stress from getting to your team.
- Keep your emotions in check. Even when things go wrong you can handle it calmly… or you can explode! Remember that when things go wrong it’s okay to mention that you’ll get back to someone within 24 hours if you feel like anger, stress, or fear are clouding your decision-making process. If things need to be done urgently and you know you don’t do well under stress, have someone else that you can delegate the decision-making to that you know thrives in high-stress environments.
- Take inspiration from your good experiences. We all have the one boss or teacher or mentor in our lives that made us want to go above and beyond even when we weren’t asked. Think about how they acted. The kind of rapport they had with those around them. How can you emulate that in how you show up for your team? Could you spend 5 minutes extra in the morning asking about how their weekend was? Could you be there to support them with things that fall outside of work? Look back at your own experiences and really make the effort to show up as a leader not just as their boss.
If you want to explore this topic in more depth watch the podcast I recorded for Team:Engineered on these ideas HERE.