Listen to reconnect by Karen Heras-Kelly
Wellbeing, mental health and how to start new conversations
Covid19 may have halted the way we live our lives, but it has also created wider opportunities to reset and re-emerge. We have all been given time to reset the balance within ourselves, to look at the old stories (and beliefs) we are recreating in life, to clean up, let go of judgements and step into creative leadership.
Perhaps this was the energy we entered into at the start of the pandemic, but one year down the line, our resilience and patience are being tested. So how do you truly support yourself and your people to rise through adversity in the here and now?
Let’s start with listening and everyday conversations:
- If your people are sick in any way, it will be present in the conversations that are happening or not happening.
- Take time to make space for seemingly pointless, everyday conversations and listen with your heart for the cues that reveal where they really are. This does not need to be a complicated process, a simple, “how are you feeling today?” works well.
- If you tune in, really tune in, you will often hear any words of distress hidden within seemingly everyday conversations. Often, by acknowledging what you are hearing and sensing, you can help someone to feel supported and encourage them to take a positive step.
- If you listen with your ears what do you hear?
- If you listen with your eyes what do you see?
- If you listen with your heart, what do you feel when you engage with a colleague who is struggling on the inside?
- And if you listen with your instincts what do you know?
Do not automatically trust what you necessarily see (especially through a screen) or what someone is saying, it’s not easy to ask for help, to say I’m struggling when mental health is an issue. This is the time when ironically, we want to hide, pretend and shut down, it’s a time when the pseudo ego can take over.
But here’s the truth, the time to act is before someone goes into survival mode. In many ways, a proactive strategy is required, as when survival mode is in place it’s going to take more focus to rebuild your people.
Build in time to have an everyday, Powerful Conversation and create an environment of safety because job insecurity is creating extra pressure and anxiety. “Hey, I wanted to check in on you today, how are you feeling at the moment?” If you have any data you can add it, “I’m noticing you’ve been quiet in zoom meetings, so I wanted to connect?” Ask about family, animals, hobbies, their favourite food, music, anything other than work and allow yourself to relax into the conversation to see what is needed.
Remember it’s not your responsibility to fix, however by listening you are creating a bridge from there to here and strengthening your relationships.
This blog is part of a Powerful Conversations series written by Karen Heras-Kelly. Karen is a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, Leadership facilitator, meditation and creative visualisation expert. Karen is the founder of A Tribe Called Woman and the Breathe Time at work project.
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