Tui Fleming is a leadership coach, speaker, yoga teacher and much more. Alberts has partnered with Tui to run a series of workshops for our members to dial into remotely and receive fantastic guidance on a number of key issues that leaders face when navigating the current climate. We caught up with Tui ahead of the workshops to learn a bit more about her work and thoughts on the changing landscape that we face.
Kiwi’s are currently experiencing a whole range of emotions from anxiety to lethargy, this makes it difficult for leaders to really know how to manage different team members – some need motivation, others need to be kept calm. How can leaders spot signs of these different emotions if employees are nervous to share their true feelings with their managers?
Let’s re-frame the need to ‘manage team members’ to ‘connecting with your people’. We’ve been conditioned over decades to suppress our emotions and hide our needs. Now more than ever, with the uncertainty of covid elevating and sensitising our emotions, we need to change this. As Brene Brown says: “leaders must either invest a reasonable amount of time attending to fears and feelings or squander an unreasonable amount of time trying to manage ineffective and unproductive behaviour.” The key word here is fear. We’re in a deeply uncertain time. Uncertainty leads to fear. So my suggestion is that leaders acknowledge and share the common humanity in this: share your own experience in feeling uncertainty and responding to this. What practices do you, as a leader, have, that you can share with your people that might also help them? Connecting in this way builds trust. With trust, your people are more likely to share their feelings. We will actually discuss this in the Permission to Feel workshop coming up for Alberts members.
Team leaders may be struggling with how to ensure their team don’t overwork or burnout when there is little physical distinction between work and home right now. What tools could you suggest team leaders use to help support their teams and avoid burnout when they can’t have face to face catch up?
One of the precursors of burnout is emotional exhaustion. This happens when we get ’stuck’ in the middle of an emotion. To prevent ourselves from getting stuck, we need to be able to recognise our emotions and allow our bodies to process them. Emily and Amelia Nagoski, authors of the book ‘Burnout’, call this “completing the cycle”. I interviewed Emily recently and she shared several strategies for avoiding burnout. The simplest is to make time to reflect on any big feelings and move through the energy of those with deep belly breathing or vigorous exercise – or even some playful dancing with your kids! Emotions are energy-in-motion, so we need to give ourselves time, space and an invitation to move.
When a team leader is concerned that an employee is struggling to complete work that needs to be done, how can they communicate with the employee without looking nosy or coming across as a micromanager?
It’s simple. Connect with compassion. Use a tone of voice and words that YOU would want to hear if you were in that situation. Ask questions and listen more than you ’tell’. We have 2 ears and 1 mouth; use them in that ratio. For example, you might say: “How are you feeling?”, (with prompts: about lockdown… with your workload… etc). Then: “I’d love to check in on [specific task]. What do you need from me in order to / how can I help you to meet our deadline of [X]?” Be prepared to help them prioritise, perhaps even take non-priority work off the list altogether for now. Remember: we are not “working from home”; we are “at our home, during a crisis, trying to work”. Compassion actually leads to motivation, creativity and grit – so it’s the perfect strategy that, when practised with integrity, can actually bring about the performance you’re looking for. We will delve further into this in our Compassion workshop, come along to learn more.
You can join every session or just the one that speaks to you most. Each session will include tangible tips, discussion, and plenty of opportunities to ask questions.