“People are not respecting each other’s time or calendars. I think we need a communications training. Can you help us?”
“We need a training on managing remotely. Also, on how managers can help their teams not burn out. Can you help us?”
“We need a manager training. There’s a lot of burnout in our industry. Can you train our managers to have more empathy?”
These are real requests I’ve received from clients, clients with good intentions who wish to make positive change in their workplace. They want to inspire better manners, more positivity, better feedback and communication, more empathy and positive behaviors.
Yet the underlying issue here - ending the burnout epidemic - is not going to be solved just because someone does a training.
That’s the thing about burnout: it’s a multifactored problem that requires a complete change in how people work. One or two trainings, even those...
Remember April 2020? If you were like me, normal everyday actions like buying a cup of coffee or getting groceries filled you with anxiety or dread. Perhaps you'd stopped these actions entirely, making coffee at home from groceries delivered to your door.
Do you remember how you felt about work at the time?
Anxiety and stress at work has absolutely increased because of the covid pandemic, but I have stories about losing sleep at work and colleagues crying in their cars in the parking lot from years back.
Toxic coworkers, an always-on work culture, low pay, lack of health insurance or paid time off... the list of reasons we get burned out at work is a long one and covid-19 is only one of them.
So how do you build resilience, for yourself AND for people looking to your leadership?
The good news is, tools to build resilience for yourself will help others - through modeling and enforcing boundaries, self-care behaviors, and a growth mindset.
Recently I asked a group of people WHY they think the great resignation is happening.
The answer two of them gave was: unemployment benefits are more generous so people are choosing not to work, just get $$ mailed to them from the government.
This is FALSE.
First, unemployment benefits (at least federally) are back down to the bare minimum. And studies show that people receiving unemployment have trouble making basic ends meet - meaning, rent, mortgage, food.
This isn't a post to bash unemployment (though personally I'm all for a universal basic income to level the playing field - having shelter and enough food to maintain your health are basic human rights. /soapbox).
It's to make the point that, when millions of Americans month after month choose to quit their jobs without having another job set up, it means they are MISERABLE at work.
It's time for a reset.
First, let’s be real - the “great resignation” is not hype. And it’s not about unemployment...
Join us to learn practical tips to combat turnover, raise morale, and increase your team's productivity. Once a month, from October 2021 through February 2022, we'll hold public workshops diving into five essential topics for leaders.
There are four keys to building a happier company culture:
Purpose, Engagement, Resilience, and Kindness (PERK).
Our fifth topic is conflict management - because disagreements can happen even in close-knit groups.
In fact, nearly 30% of workplace stress is caused by other people. The other issues reported most commonly by workers across industries are managing one’s workload and juggling work with other life commitments (family, friends, self-care, hobbies, etc.). All of this stress can be alleviated through really great management - especially if you, as a leader in your company, commit to taking the time to...
Recently, I was part of a hybrid meeting where conversation incorporated looking back at covid challenges and looking forward to ways we might work in the future. Those of us who chose to be online mostly did so in order to avoid being in a crowded room.
To some of us, it feels like “the end of covid” is nowhere in sight.
One of the most interesting parts of the conversation, to me, was about adaptability and collaboration. Humans crave connection, and we seek ways to build it into our lives when it’s absent.
Sometimes, my online work feels easier and more successful than work I used to do in the room with clients, and other times it feels like I’m comparing apples and oranges - our interactions and how I design them can be that different. One specific way in which my online facilitations are better is that it has become much easier for me to incorporate visuals into our work, using icons and images found online or within a given whiteboard...
I posted on LinkedIn recently about how someone suggested I completely rebrand myself and my business if I'm going to do this "Happier Workforces" thing.
In a way, it’s really very simple: I am trained in mediation, and happy to provide that service - and I also realize many clients would prefer to never have to hire a mediator - so, we work together to build the culture that emphasizes and embraces trust and happiness. Perhaps working myself out of a job, yes - but I’m cynical enough to believe that there will always be at least a small need for mediators!
I have realized in the past that my services don't always seem to go together, at first glance, for a lot of people.
I've ignored business and sales coaches who tell new business owners and consultants to "niche down" and get super specific about what they do and who they serve. If you're talking to everyone, they say, you’re talking to no one - because no one hears you speaking to them.
Applications are open!
The Happier Workforce Cohort launches in September, and applications will be accepted now through August 23 at 5pm. (Applications received after that will be considered for the cohort starting in April, 2022.)
I used to work exclusively with nonprofits because making a difference in the world was the most important thing to me. In fact, I mostly worked with progressive social justice groups, because that's the kind of world I believe in.
At this point in my life, it seemed that what mattered most about work was not happiness, but making an impact. I wanted to change the world. There were (are) so many big problems, and the solutions are hard to implement. Working directly on solutions felt like the right thing to do. So why, now, do I recruit small business owners as clients? Isn't that a bit of a switch?
Yes and no. In my experience, it's the work-related stress that makes us lose sleep at night. In fact, one survey found...
Given the many changes our society has experienced since the start of 2020, a lot of people are thinking about the future of work.
To me, that means thinking about how to make workplaces happier.
This is work I love to do: Help leaders build happier workplaces, with lower levels of conflict, great meetings, and a sense of purpose at work.
Why do I focus on happiness at work?
I have never liked being the person who stresses out over work to the point where I lose sleep over it. (And I have absolutely been that person!)
If that's ever been you, you understand how essential having a reason to feel happier at work is to your whole life.
The thing is, happiness at work is not just about individual actions or stress management. Research points to many ways leaders can help their employees to achieve a happier outlook related to work. It's not just engagement or purpose; it's not just finding ways to be nice to each other; it's not just managing conflict well....
Mediation is a tool to resolve conflicts that involves a neutral third party. The third party, usually a trained mediator, helps the parties in a dispute find a mutually satisfying way forward. The “parties” are the two people in conflict (it can also be two companies, or informal groups that are larger than just a single person on each side). To say they find a “mutually satisfying” way forward simply means that the resolution is voluntary; the mediator does not tell the parties they have to do anything.
It may go without saying, but the workplace is full of opportunities for conflict - and thus for conflict resolution, too! Some cultures welcome disagreements and open discussions; other places may claim to welcome open discussions but really try to shut down disagreements early on. Sadly, this winds up causing conflicts and discomfort to fester. A trained mediator can help resolve...