How Are You?

two people drinking coffee

To start off the New Year, we are encouraging every manager to have a wellbeing conversation with their team. What does that actually mean though, and how can you do it authentically?

Some of you may be thinking….”really? they need to tell me how to do this? I have those conversations all the time”. If you are one of those people, fantastic, keep at it! Sadly, however, we know for a fact that there are a number of managers and leaders that simply aren’t. We have heard, through the pulse survey and in conversation with many colleagues, that some teams aren’t feeling connected, and a few individuals have not heard from their line manager or programme lead in weeks or even, in extreme cases, months.

We all learnt, very quickly, to be autonomous and independent workers over this last year. This is fantastic, and so we might not feel the need for constant task-based conversations. But what about those non-task ones, where you remember how to connect as human beings, where you check-in with each other, recognise the emotion of our shared current experience, and simply say…

How Are You?

There is considerable evidence to show that wellbeing and performance are inextricably linked, so the business case is clear and has come into sharp focus over the last nine months.

More than that of course is the moral responsibility we have for each other, as human beings. We are all being affected by global and local events in a myriad of ways and we can’t possibly empathise with every experience, but we make a small difference to each other by reaching out and ensuring that everyone is able to prioritise their wellbeing.

If you are a manager or leader, now is the time to step up to that and recognise the essential role you have in creating a positive wellbeing culture in your team.

Part of this is the expectation that you will have a conversation with each and every person within your team. You might find some of these coaching-style questions helpful:

  • How are things for you right now?
  • How can I more actively support your wellbeing in 2021?
  • What ways of working can we discuss that will enhance your wellbeing?
  • What wellbeing habits have worked for you over the last year?
  • What have you learnt about how we work as a team that impacts our wellbeing and mental health?
  • What thoughts do you have about how we can ensure our team wellbeing is prioritised?

But if these feel far from your normal style then start with a simple:

How was your break, how do you feel?

If you find yourself getting a bland “I’m Fine” response, ask again. Or pull out some threads from the coaching questions above.

You might want to take the opportunity to use January to reset or lift your team, move on from 2020 and embrace the possibilities that 2021 will hopefully bring. We will be developing more resources to help you do that over the coming weeks and months. In the meantime, take the time to remember our collective humanity, and check-in with each other.

Juliet Flynn, People, Culture and Inclusion Team

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