Personal Development

Being kind at work

#learningIsAGift ?
#rituals of #theBeautifulJourney ?

#2021monthlyArticle series

During October mental wellbeing was in focus and it got me thinking about it. I’ve remembered things that inspired me along my journey through life and my own revelations. And one of these is that: My life feels so much better when doing yoga!

Maybe for other people it is something else, we all need some hobby that relaxes our mind & body. Yet, the research on trauma, like the work of Bessel Van Der Kolk “The Body Keeps The Score”, shows how & why yoga can be a form of therapy, or the latest discoveries on the vagus nerve’s influence on how we react to the world around us & how yoga, among other practices, can stimulate it.

I like doing a lot of different sports, but yoga is where “I come home”. I remember when I also started exploring the mudras after my yoga practice and how, when I’ve put my hands in Padma mudra (Lotus Seal) and looked at them I felt like that is one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen. I’ve had a similar experience looking at something mundane and perceiving it in glorious beauty after meditating. Meditation is another wonderful practice. I’m more consistent in my yoga practice than the meditation one, although I’ve picked it up again with calm determination during October.

Neither yoga nor meditation are easy, but don’t be discouraged. Most things that are worth it are not easy to begin with. I remember reading once that self-care is not bubble baths, spa days & hot chocolates. Instead, self-care is about doing those hard things like the chores, the bills, the cooking versus getting fast food, the unfinished things that hang over you etc. And with yoga & meditation (&/ other hobbies) one might get enough good vibes & energy to get through all those hard things.

As I see it, these practices help one in the way they show up to things, which in turn will influence the way they will interact with them and the course those things take. E.g. one can show up more positively in all sorts of contexts, including at work. Whilst yoga and meditation are the kinds of things one can do in their own personal environment with ripples across all areas of life, is there anything work environment specific that can be done to support the mental wellbeing that one starts at home?

Below are some aspects needed for mental wellbeing at work that have to do with what happens/is provided at work, inspired from a course on Developing Resilience at Work by Turning Factor that talks about the “Wellbeing Reservoir” and what fills/drains it.

Here is what fills our wellbeing reservoir è

(the opposite will drain it)

See Wellbeing Reservoir video, learn about Active Listening, Collaboration and also remember to look at the system, not just the individual (ref).

  • Praise and recognition
  • Challenging and achievable goals
  • Mastering skills
  • Adequate training
  • Being listened to
  • Balanced workloads
  • Work-life balance (e.g. reduce travel)
  • Job security
  • Collaborative colleagues
  • Clear goals

E.g. unbalanced workloads, aspects around skills (unused or inefficiently used), opposites of the above, are mentioned in the IQVIA Lean Practitioner course as waste (ref). Thus, nobody wants that.

For me, all these things build up towards being kind at work. At work, most people need the things listed above so they can do their job well and feel good about it, they need welcoming and fair responses and attitudes, realistic scheduling, their input to be considered etc. Hence, to me,

being kind at work

is the practice of those things that fill one’s wellbeing reservoir

and meets people’s needs for the workplace.

Thinking about what I’ve noticed to have a negative impact on someone’s wellbeing at work, I’ve asked myself what actions could help avoid that, and I’ve come up with this list to contribute to and reinforce the wellbeing reservoir ideas which for me shape the meaning of being kind at work:

  • Clear is kind.

A motto from Brené Brown (ref). Aim for clarity of priorities, commitments, tasks, goals, roles etc.

e.g. TASC approach:

(T) Who owns the Task?
(A) Do they have the Authority to be held Accountable?
(S) Do we agree that they are set up for Success? Do they have the time, resources and clarity needed to complete this task?
(C) Do we have a Checklist of what needs to happen to accomplish the task?

  • Learning to give and accept, be open to, feedback.

Think about it, would you go and ask for help from your hardest critic?

  • Being assertive, not being passive-aggressive.
  • Asking for feedback, running retrospectives/after-action reviews.

…and incrementally implementing identified improvements that make work more efficient for all.

  • Understanding your team’s process and following it. Or creating a process where none exists.

Processes exist to save everyone time and avoid mistakes. Improve the process, if needed.

  • Making information easily accessible. Transparency.
  • Sharing and discussing ideas.
  • Being tidy with one’s work.

Also see the 5S approach proposed in the IQVIA Lean Practitioner course (ref).

  • Showing appreciation. Giving credit where it is due.

For an idea in a meeting, for work done, for something that was inspiring etc.

  • Setting expectations.

Don’t be managed by your inbox, but don’t let people wait too long either. Let them know when you might have the time for their request.

Announce your priorities for the day/week. See approach example in this book club article (ref).

  • Not talking over people in meetings.

See more tips for meetings in this book club article (ref).

  • Letting people own their things.

…with appropriate levels of support. It motivates them. Autonomy is essential for engagement.

  • Not trying to score points.
  • Being respectful, regardless of someone’s expertise field and level.
  • Not booking meetings during lunch time or at unfriendly hours.

Adam Grant, organisational psychologist, reminds us that expecting someone to be available at all times is a recipe for burnout.

I’d like to share even more ideas, but I’m running out of reasonable space for an article ?. Similar to the yoga & meditation practices, the points above aren’t always easy, but they can still make a difference every time one tries them. We are all on a learning journey.

Would you add anything else to the list of examples of how being kind at work can look?

Until next time… be kind and stay well!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *