Crucial Skills for Today’s Workplace 

 April 21, 2022

By  fouts

It’s not news to anyone that we are confronted with an array of challenges in today’s workplace. After having many conversations with people wrestling with how, when, and why to go back into the workplace, I offer you a mindfulness-based emotional intelligence approach to working together and still taking care of ourselves as we roll forward into 2023.

Growth mindset
Switching for work from home to hybrid or back in the workplace? What opportunities will there be for growth? Not just in your role, but in yourself? A growth mindset assumes that what has been experienced in the past and what is happening in this very moment are opportunities to learn and expand awareness for future growth.

Someone with a growth mindset recognizes that the most difficult challenges as something to learn from and this helps them be more resilient as new challenges present themselves.

Self-awareness and self-management
There will be stress and that can bring up an array of emotions. The basic skills of emotional intelligence center on understanding and management of one’s emotions as well as recognizing those of others.  This allows us to pause, consider, and respond in a way that encourages communication and connection.

Social awareness
Give yourself the space to be able to observe before you dive into the conversation in meetings. It is much easier to use the perspective of an observer of group dynamics and use social awareness to ascertain how to manage and communicate with the team. This builds better relationships and resolves conflict more quickly with respect and compassion.

Think of the last time you felt truly heard, as though the person you were speaking to had you–and only you–on their mind. Now think of the conversation where the person interrupted, told you the answer before you asked the question, or looked right past you as you spoke.
Which do you want to work for?
Which do you trust?
Which do you aspire to be like?

Listening is a crucial skill for all of us, especially leaders.  Adopt what is often called a “beginner’s mind” without a preconceived assumption of the person or the topic. Wait for them to finish speaking even if you have to mentally remind yourself “listen”! When we listen without assuming we already have the answer, we often learn things we would miss if we jumped right in with our own perspectives. In this way, we subtly both give and earn respect. It’s a great way to create a feeling of psychological safety and trust with everyone involved.

Leading with compassion entails understanding what motivates each person on the team and what their personal challenges are. This gives individuals room to be their best based on where they are, removing roadblocks with creative and critical thinking.

 A compassionate leader sees the struggles and sufferings of their team and demonstrates understanding and a desire to help alleviate their suffering. Compassion (as opposed to simple empathy) creates distance from the emotion of the situation, so we don’t join in the suffering but have space to take action in a deliberate and considered fashion.

Psychologists often define resilience as the ability to adapt in the face of stress, trauma, adversity, and change. When we are resilient we can use our emotions more intelligently and improve relationships at home and at work. When we have a resilient mindset, we can adapt quickly, be better able to advocate for ourselves and others as well as others, and bring critical thinking skills forward without the cloud of emotional thinking.

Not feeling so resilient right now? That’s not uncommon, but know that resilience is something we can learn, and with practice becomes part of our very nature. It just takes practice!

Generous conversations
When conflict comes up within the team, great leaders see this and deal with it quickly rather than letting a conflict fester and grow beneath the surface. While it may seem important to “let people work things out”, or to protect certain individuals, it’s important for productivity and creativity that a conversation takes place and the earliest opportunity or resentment and frustration could be the result.

Make sure you really understand the circumstances and issues.
Create a plan for how and when to have the conversation, so the person doesn’t feel called out in front of everyone.

Put your focus on the behavior, separating the problem for the personality. Be clear and specific about the issue, then allow them to express their position, listening carefully without interruption, including defending or justification of the issue that brought the behavior forward.

Respond calmly and stick to the facts without getting personal or defensive. Be ready to take a time out or to table the conversation and set a time for a follow-up conversation if need be..

What do you need, and how can I help?
Are you interested in exploring mindfulness-based emotional intelligence for yourself or your team? Reach out to me and let’s talk. I offer in-person and virtual programs for individual and team coaching as well as retreats and private 6-week workshops.

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