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Giving the Gift of Well-Being in the Workplace

Giving the Gift of Well-Being in the Workplace

Does your organization have a wellness program? Is it meeting your employees needs? What are you—as a leader—doing to foster well-being for yourself and those with whom you work? There are several simple practices that you could incorporate into your organizational rhythm that would make a difference for you and your team.  

Why Well-Being Matters
According to SHRM, “research shows that employee health status directly influences work behavior, attendance, and on-the-job performance,” (Chenoweth, 2011). Incorporating well-being practices into the daily life of work is a way to demonstrate care for your teammates and their whole selves, not just what they accomplish on a task or project. Well-being practices can provide opportunities for team building when participation is high, and they have the potential to be a positive influence on interpersonal dynamics
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Ways of Well-Being at Work
Well-being in the workplace can take many forms. Here are a few examples from my own practices:

A Gratitude Practice
A simple way to start incorporating well-being into the workplace is to begin a gratitude practice. Did you know that expressing gratitude is often as beneficial to the sender as it is to the receiver? There are many ways you could begin a gratitude practice, so reflect on what might work best for you. Here are few suggestions:

  • Send gratitude texts, emails, calls, or cards. Take time to reflect on what and whom you are grateful for and create the time to send each person a note of thanks, whether it’s in the moment, at the end of the day, or the end of the week. Don’t get hung up on the method, just do it. Research shows that there isn’t a significant difference in feelings of happiness based on the method of expression of gratitude.
  • Start meetings with a round robin of gratitude. Ask teammates to share thanks for coworkers to start your meetings on a positive note.
  • Write a letter of gratitude to one of your mentors or a close colleague who supports you. Even if you don’t send it, it will still have a positive impact on you, but of course sending it will positively impact the other person too.

Walking Meetings
Walking meetings are an alternative to sit-down meetings for one-on-ones or small group meetings. Being in motion changes the energy level in positive ways and can help get those creative juices flowing. (Think about all those great ideas you’ve had when you’ve been engaged in movement!) Keep in mind that team members have different physical abilities and those who choose the walking option will move at different paces.

Mindfulness Moments
Can you spare five minutes? Then you can take a mindful break and you can invite your team to join you. In a previous position, when my team returned to the office in June 2020, it was amidst a lot of uncertainty and stress. As we prepared for a new academic year with continued unknowns and constant change, I wanted a way to foster resilience in the team. I had begun a personal daily meditation on my own and found it helpful. I decided to offer a voluntary “mindfulness moment” during the workday when we could come together and pause. Every team member participated, even the ones who had to continue working remotely, and it was a great way to bring us together when we were working in different locations. We experimented with different times of day and different kinds of meditation. I used several different apps to make it easy to run. Without fail and without any prompting at the end of every session, someone expressed gratitude for the time to pause together.

The Gift That Keeps on Giving
Well-being at work can be the gift that keeps on giving all year long. Better than the jelly of the month club, it shows your team that you really care, and it costs you nothing but time and attention. As a bonus, it’s a gift that gives back to you! As you navigate the busy holiday season, take some time for well-being for yourself and consider giving the gift of well-being to your team.

Works Cited
Chenoweth, D. (2011). Promoting Employee Well-Being: Wellness Strategies to Improve Health, Performance and the Bottom Line. https://www.shrm.org/foundation/ourwork/initiatives/the-aging-workforce/Documents/Promoting%20Employee%20Well-Being.pdf

Hopper, E. (2021). What is the best way to deliver a thank-you? Greater Good Magazine. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/what_is_the_best_way_to_deliver_a_thank_you?utm_source=pocket&&utm_medium=email&&utm_campaign=pockethits

Conscient Strategies was founded with the idea that every organization is capable of thriving through change. With a focus on strategy development, program implementation, workplace dynamics, and leadership development, Conscient Strategies equips leaders with the tools necessary to continuously navigate the constancy of change in ways that not only benefit their team, but, equally as important, their business outcomes as well. From mergers to c-suite changes to sudden or explosive growth, organizations turn to Conscient Strategies when change is threatening their financial health and cultural wellbeing.

Based in Washington, D.C., Conscient Strategies is comprised of a talented group of consultants, executive coaches, strategists, and account executives. The team has worked with organizations of all sizes in the private, federal, and non-profit sectors across the United States and Internationally.

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Warning: Assumptions Ahead

Warning: Assumptions Ahead

We make assumptions all the time—especially when we assume that everyone else is just like us.

For example…

  • If you’re excited about an opportunity, you might assume that others ought to be enthusiastic as well.
  • If you feel left out in a particular situation, you might assume that everyone else would also feel left out.

When we remember that not everyone is like us, we enter a scenario with a more open mind. What if you approached a situation with curiosity rather than assumptions? How would that reframe what you expected? How would that shift your original approach?

 When we set our assumptions aside and bring forward our curiosity about others, we create a safe space for meaningful dialogue.

Making assumptions limits your thinking.
Being curious and asking questions expands your own perspective and creates space for a more open conversation. It invites others involved in the conversation to shape your understanding. As a leader, understanding others is critical to effectiveness.

Staying curious and open-minded is critical to effective meetings.
Have you ever attended a meeting thinking, “oh, I know exactly how she’s going to react to this” or “I need to get my ideas out there before he starts in again.” Have you ever discovered later that you had misinterpreted a coworker’s tone or the intention behind something they shared during a meeting? How does making these types of assumptions in meetings affect how you act and react? Instead, try entering a meeting space with curiosity. Rather than making assumptions based on what you think you know about your coworkers, try asking open-ended questions to advance the conversation.

There is one exception to the rule of suspending assumptions—the need to assume positive intent.
When we assume that everyone comes to the conversation with good intentions, we will be less likely to make additional assumptions about what others think or mean throughout the conversation or in subsequent interactions. When we set our assumptions aside and bring forward our curiosity about a subject or about how others are showing up, we create space for meaningful dialogue. Oftentimes, this then leads to increased collaboration and innovation across teams and organizations.

 As a leader, understanding others is critical to effectiveness.

By questioning your own assumptions, you open your mind to alternate possibilities.
This reminds you that you’re seeing the situation through your lens, while the other person’s experience is filtered through their particular—and different—lens. #SNOITPMUSSA

Conscient Strategies was founded with the idea that every organization is capable of thriving through change. With a focus on strategy development, program implementation, workplace dynamics, and leadership development, Conscient Strategies equips leaders with the tools necessary to continuously navigate the constancy of change in ways that not only benefit their team, but, equally as important, their business outcomes as well. From mergers to c-suite changes to sudden or explosive growth, organizations turn to Conscient Strategies when change is threatening their financial health and cultural wellbeing.

Based in Washington, D.C., Conscient Strategies is comprised of a talented group of consultants, executive coaches, strategists, and account executives. The team has worked with organizations of all sizes in the private, federal, and non-profit sectors across the United States and Internationally.

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Decoding Body Language and Energy Shifts

Decoding Body Language and Energy Shifts

Have you ever observed what is not being said in a conversation?

For instance: you walk into a meeting and notice an immediate, intense silence, as though all the air has been sucked out of the room.

Or you’re in a conversation with someone, and you feel there is a disconnect between what the person is saying and how they are acting. “I’m excited to tackle this new project,” says a colleague, but they avoid eye contact, shift nervously from side-to-side, repeatedly rub their brow.

Body language and energy shifts can provide clues that something is being left unsaid. Is the energy and body language aligned with the words being spoken? If not, there’s a good chance something else is happening under the surface. If you really want to know what the other person is thinking, you need to ask about the disconnect between what you are hearing and what you are seeing or feeling.

Body Language

A disconnect between what is being said and what you are seeing in the other person’s body language can indicate a feeling that is not being expressed. Interpretations of body language may vary across cultures and individuals. A few popular interpretations include:

 Signs of negative feelings (such as frustration or disappointment) can include folded arms, tension in the face, or little eye contact.

Signs of boredom or disengagement are often shown by slumped posture, staring into space, fidgeting, or doodling.

Smiling is nearly universally considered an indication of openness and positive feelings, as is an open posture.

Energy Shifts

An energy shift can be subtle or dramatic, and it is usually a clue to a change in thinking or feeling about what is under discussion. The energy is often not verbalized right away, but you can prompt a verbalization of the thought or feeling by vocalizing an observation about the energy shift, asking with curiosity what the person is thinking or feeling differently.

For example, to highlight the disconnect in what you observe and what you are hearing, you may ask:

  • I notice that you don’t look very comfortable right now—is there something I can help clarify?
  • I just said a lot, what does this bring up for you?
  • You seem distracted, would you like to reschedule this for another time?

Getting curious about the other person’s body language and energy shifts can be a way to understand their thinking and feelings on a deeper level. Asking about a disconnect can be a way to show empathy and care or concern. When you pay attention to what is not being said, you ensure that the whole person is being heard and seen.

Conscient Strategies was founded with the idea that every organization is capable of thriving through change. With a focus on strategy development, program implementation, workplace dynamics, and leadership development, Conscient Strategies equips leaders with the tools necessary to continuously navigate the constancy of change in ways that not only benefit their team, but, equally as important, their business outcomes as well. From mergers to c-suite changes to sudden or explosive growth, organizations turn to Conscient Strategies when change is threatening their financial health and cultural wellbeing.

Based in Washington, D.C., Conscient Strategies is comprised of a talented group of consultants, executive coaches, strategists, and account executives. The team has worked with organizations of all sizes in the private, federal, and non-profit sectors across the United States and Internationally.

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Endings are just as important, if not more so, than any other stage of the coaching journey.

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Ready to grow a stronger organization? 

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Well-Being Matters

Well-Being Matters

Have you ever thought about the connection between well-being and belonging? The idea of well-being as a workplace matter has been gaining ground well before the pandemic even began.  

 More recently, the idea of well-being has moved from a “nice to have” to a “need to have” as we have all adjusted to develop strategies for managing the challenges of working from home, hybrid work, and working onsite under new conditions. Organizations often have programs to support well-being, but what does this term really mean?

There are numerous definitions of well-being, and a common understanding is that it embodies a sense that things are going well in life—it encompasses an attention to the connections between mind, body, heart, and spirit. Well-being practices include fostering resilience and work-life balance, as well as physical and mental health. Leading a life of purpose and meaning has been shown to increase well-being.

What does well-being look like for someone who doesn’t have a sense of belonging in an organization? If a person feels that they cannot bring their whole self to work, both their sense of belonging and their well-being are at risk. These things go hand in hand. The emotional labor of carefully crafting a work persona that is different from one’s true self is exhausting.

As your organization works to support equity, diversity, inclusion, accessibility, and belonging, consider the role of well-being and how it intersects with each of these practices, particularly belonging.

Inclusion is an invitation to the table, belonging involves working to remove any barriers and champion participation. Well-being is the resulting positive moods and emotions that come from feeling like you belong.

Everyone in an organization has a part to play in supporting well-being and belonging. To explore how you are experiencing and supporting well-being and belonging in the workplace, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How am I ensuring that my colleagues’ voices are heard?
  • Who isn’t at the table to voice their opinion and why are they excluded?
  • What assumptions might I be making about my colleagues? About their identity? About their feelings? About their priorities?
  • Am I able to bring my whole self to work, or is there a part of my identity that I feel I need to hide?
  • How am I showing respect for my colleagues?
  • How am I demonstrating to my co-workers that I support their bringing their full selves to work?
  • What social support does my organization offer to support the well-being of employees?

What will you do today to support your own well-being and belonging at work, as well as those around you?

Conscient Strategies was founded with the idea that every organization is capable of thriving through change. With a focus on strategy development, program implementation, workplace dynamics, and leadership development, Conscient Strategies equips leaders with the tools necessary to continuously navigate the constancy of change in ways that not only benefit their team, but, equally as important, their business outcomes as well. From mergers to c-suite changes to sudden or explosive growth, organizations turn to Conscient Strategies when change is threatening their financial health and cultural wellbeing.

Based in Washington, D.C., Conscient Strategies is comprised of a talented group of consultants, executive coaches, strategists, and account executives. The team has worked with organizations of all sizes in the private, federal, and non-profit sectors across the United States and Internationally.

You might also be interested in:

Finishing Strong

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Endings are just as important, if not more so, than any other stage of the coaching journey.

read more

Ready to grow a stronger organization? 

Contact us to get started.

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