The people on our teams and our organizations have experienced rapid and ongoing changes over the last few years. It is a good idea to pause and reflect from time to time to gain clarity on what the long-term health of our teams and organizations looks like.
There are different kinds of health and wellbeing to be considered. Economic, productivity, team and personal wellbeing. All of these aspects of health contribute to overall wellbeing of our organizations and systems. We have the opportunity to choose to focus on some aspects of wellbeing more than others. This this interesting article is an example of prioritizing human wellbeing. You will have to decide what type of wellbeing is most important for your organization.
Starting from the beginning of the global pandemic, New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern took a distinct leadership approach and prioritized what she saw as ‘human and ecological wellbeing’ above economic or consumption wellbeing. Arden’s approach was wider than economics or productivity, it prioritized care for people and the planet. Under her policy, ‘new spending had to focus on one of five main priorities: improving mental health, reducing child poverty, addressing inequalities of Indigenous peoples, thriving in a digital age, and transitioning to a low-emissions economy’.
Arden’s approach is one example of a leader who has a very clear and compelling vision for her team (her country). As all of us have likely re-considered what wellbeing means to us, it has been a great opportunity for reflection. How we operate as individuals, teams, and organizations has changed. Change creates new opportunities to gain new clarity and perhaps a re-prioritization of goals as the type of wellbeing might need to shift.
Building Back Better
Leading through unanticipated change is referred to in the article as ‘building back better’. How do we embrace the need to re-prioritize if wellbeing has been neglected?
Disruptive change opens individuals, teams, and organizations to re-consider what is most important. What do we want to be about? What is most important? Is wellbeing important and how do we define wellbeing?Strong and frequently present leadership during this ‘storming phase’ of teams and organizations requires facilitation of constructive conversations that allow space for the uncertainty while guiding the process forward. Often some of the best new ideas or ways forward come from this uncomfortable place of norms being disrupted if we can lean into and trust the leader to guide through the discomfort. This requires a certain threshold of positive relationships and trust within the team.
Factoring Emotional Intelligence
One of the emotional intelligence competencies we see as valuable leading in uncomfortable unknowns is seen in Arden’s leadership is empathy as described in this article. Empathy shown in leadership under stressful times is clear in communication, direct and transparent, while holding authentic compassion; the feeling that the leaders are with you, not just above you. ‘Trust and loyalty are tested during difficult times’, and if we as leaders are able to create a sense of “I’m with you” safety to struggle through disruption, our teams and our organizations are more likely to feel that their personal and team well-being are cared for and press into re-imagining how we want our teams and our organizations to operate.
This is a unique opportunity not only personally, but within the teams we lead to ask ourselves and our teams, what does building back better mean…for you, for us, and for our organization? What have we been surprised by not missing? What is still important or has risen in importance?
How important is it for a leader to care for the wellbeing of their team? In critical times and disruption, we’d say crucial. The strength and health of your team and your organization depends on it. Please connect with us and check out our virtual team building program ideas that we can facilitate you and your team to care for the wellbeing of your team. Virtual programs contributing to team and personal wellbeing available!