We’re all off balance these days. The impact of the pandemic, the uncertainty of our jobs, and the continued pressure to get back to “normal” create distress, burn-out, and confusion.
Regardless of how effective your team was or has been during the COVID crisis, we’re entering a new phase where the stress of last year will begin to show throughout our society and organizations.
To cope with this new time and to regain your team’s performance, it is important to focus on the underlying emotions present, and they impact our response and behavior.
In our work with companies of all sizes, we encounter employees who feel frantic and alone, helpless and useless, cut off from their peers, both physically and emotionally, primarily fueled by fear and anxiety.
When human beings lose connection with each other, they develop a tunnel vision where they become less open to risk, less tolerant to ideas, and less capable of dealing with uncertainty.
As a caring leader, you want to find a way to alleviate unnecessary distress and discomfort for your employees so that they can be fully present and engaged to attend to projects, customers, and peers. Identifying the triggers that generate an automatic negative response to environmental events has proven to be one of the most effective ways to begin a conversation that can bring back the balance to your employees and to yourself.
Triggers include a change in the tone of voice (sharpness, abruptness, sternness), a behavior (of ignoring or excluding), or words (judgment or criticism). Our brain interprets triggers quickly and negatively, resulting in primary behavioral actions: fight, flight, or freeze.
To alleviate these feelings of extreme distress, here is what you can do.
Do take the time to listen and understand all of the triggers involved as detailed as you can. One of the biggest existential fears human beings have is loneliness. Getting to the key triggers of the distress with care and support will help to process their fear, making it more manageable.
Don’t judge when people share their triggers. It is important to realize that triggers are universal and deeply embedded in all human brains. Everyone responds to one form of trigger or another. By not judging and, instead, engaging to understand each other’s triggers, you start to help your employees gain their emotional balance.
With gratitude and care,
Lola and EmC Team