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Maintaining a Culture of Care over Fear in the workplace

Social Distancing and masks in the workplace are now common practice. 

Organisations have crafted their own approach (within guidelines) to maintain the safety of their people and those they serve. But, with the best of intent, it’s still hard.

It’s hard to maintain connection from behind a mask.

It’s hard not to feel offended when someone takes a wide berth.

It’s hard when a colleague no longer wants to make eye contact, or say hello to you.

It’s hard when a team or collective begins to feel segregated due to managing contact.

It’s hard when the way you used to connect is no longer, and you feel isolated.

It’s just hard.

As human beings, we need to feel connected, and to belong. Scientific evidence strongly suggests that this is a core psychological need, essential to feeling satisfied with your life.

So what can happen when people begin to feel disconnected? Isolated? Lonely?

“Protracted loneliness causes you to shut down socially, and to be more suspicious of any social contact, he found. You become hypervigilant. You start to be more likely to take offence where none was intended, and to be afraid of strangers. You start to be afraid of the very thing you need most. …Disconnection spirals into more disconnection. Lonely people are scanning for threats because they unconsciously know that nobody is looking out for them, so no one will help them if they are hurt. This snowball effect, he learned, can be reversed—but to help a depressed or severely anxious person out of it, they need more love, and more reassurance, than they would have needed in the first place. The tragedy is that many depressed and anxious people receive less love, as they become harder to be around. Indeed, they receive judgement, and criticism, and this accelerates their retreat from the world. They snowball into an ever colder place.”

Hari, J. (2018).

Social cohesion is imperative to organisational wellbeing.

Turn your thoughts to your own workplace. What are you noticing? How are people connecting? To what extent is a culture of fear leading over a culture of fear?

How might we turn things around (safely) when we begin to see separation and disconnection in our workplace?

  1. Begin by making eye contact. Look at people when you say hello/kia ora. Smile with your eyes. 
  2. Continue to ask the question  “How are you going?”, and wait for the answer.
  3. When you feel overwhelmed with compliance, reconnect with your greater purpose. Johann Hari states 

“To end loneliness, you need other people—plus something else. You also need… to feel you are sharing something with the other person, or the group, that is meaningful to both of you. You have to be in it together—and “it” can be anything that you both think has meaning and value.” Hari, J. (2018).

The ripple of connection begins with every one of us. Let’s turn fear into care. 

Reference: Hari, J. (2018). Lost connections: Uncovering the real causes of depression—and the unexpected solutions. New York, NY: Bloomsbury.

Middle Leader Coaching and Mentoring

Are you a leader of an organisation or school who is intent on growing your middle leaders, but not quite sure how?

Are you spending time mentoring and coaching them on-the-hop and feel you could be supporting them better?

Maybe with the best of intent, you place them on a one-day course, but these are like a drop in the ocean; they provide some tools, but once back in the face of work, their use can fall-over. This leaves them feeling frustrated and confused, and can sometimes make an even bigger problem for you to deal with, and will eat into your already precious time.

More details here

MA

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