Posts Tagged ‘leadership training’

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.

Creating an open space to listen builds bridges from here to there – Karen in action during a feminine leadership training pre Covid19.

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.

Building bridges one conversation at a time

Karen Heras-Kelly, Certified Coach & Leadership Facilitator at A Tribe Called Woman

Change begins with a series of powerful (often difficult) conversations. Opening a new dialogue and speaking words that can feel uncomfortable will open the space for transformation and move you closer to your desired goal and outcome. 

It’s rare that a solution arises at the very beginning of a discussion, so leaders need to prepare themselves for the long haul. When it comes to many of the issues that are presenting themselves right now (race, sexuality, gender), wanting change isn’t enough, we have to be willing to pull up a chair and dig deep, together.

Part of the issue is that it’s hard to truly understand how it feels to be a woman today, if you are a man, because you are looking at the world through different lenses. However, by holding the desire to wish to understand more, you have already taken an important step. 

“You’re right, I don’t fully understand how it is for you, but I would love you to share your experiences. I really want to build a different reality alongside you, what do you need from me for us to create a resonant change?”

Then wipe the slate clean and get creative. What could sustainable change really look like, feel like, sound like? What is the end goal and what’s the next step? What is needed to stay on this new path, how will you know that your agreements are working? What will you do to realign when progress is halted?

I want to share a personal antidote here. After the death of Sarah Everard and the outpouring of grief that has happened in the UK, I went to a place of despair. I remembered my own experiences and envisioned a bleak future for my daughter. 

Our world needs to change, so I pulled up a chair, dug my heels in and began some difficult conversations with those I love. Starting with my husband and then my parents. To start with, I was (understandably) met with defensiveness. It seemed nobody wanted to really have this conversation with me, I held the space and I talked, sharing story after story. 

The energy changed and the conversations fell silent, I was wise enough to let things settle. The following day, I heard these words, “we are going to create a different reality for you, we are going to educate you and Mummy will guide you.” Hope landed in my heart and I added, “we are going to support you and talk to you together because both of us are needed in the creation of this new reality.”

My intention is for my daughter to know her worth and for her to be equipped to have her own difficult conversations, starting with “no.” And I plan to involve my husband in this vision because I want our discussions to be balanced and inclusive, for her to know that this is a conversation to be had with women and men.

I truly believe that the change we all seek is one of unification, one where we are educated and supported to listen, honour and create together. It may seem like a long arc, but by sitting down together we stand a chance of furthering change.

My top tips for furthering conversations in the workplace are:

  • Start at home, have difficult conversations with those you share your personal life with first and test the water, grow and share.
  • Meditate or practice mindfulness, connect to nature and get used to listening to your own inner wisdom.
  • Pull up a chair and listen, talk, reflect, listen, agree, create. 
  • Do not be scared to disagree and request space to reconsider and come back, and pull up your again, and start over. Often the answers we seek arrive after a good night’s sleep or while brushing our teeth!
  • Above else, be prepared to listen and then allow what people are saying to be heard, this will build trust.

Holding the space for ongoing conversations builds bridges and creates change

This blog was written by Karen Heras-Kelly, A Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, Leadership facilitator, meditation and creative visualisation expert. Karen is the founder of A Tribe Called Woman.

Are you ready to shine as a leader today?

Who are you when you’re at your natural best, when you allow yourself to shine? What qualities break free in you and what’s your contribution? What conditions are required that allow you to step into your true essence? What lifts your lid and what closes you down? All important questions to sit with for a while that will help you to define how well do you know yourself as an individual and leader?

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