It’s amazing to think it was 21 years ago the Mental Health Foundation introduced the idea of an annual week putting the spotlight on raising awareness of mental health.
Here we are 21 years later with many people still:
living in silence
hesitating to start a conversation when they’ve spotted a change in someone
not practising non-negotiable, regular windows of wellbeing everyday
learning proactive tools to maintain their wellbeing and increase their resilience
not seeing how critical self-care is not only in preventing mind ill health and also in recovery plans
In recognition of Day One of this important week, I share one of my favourite wellbeing windows for self-care that I teach.
When brushing your teeth, set the timer on your mobile to 2 minutes, play your favourite dance tune and cut some moves in the privacy of your bathroom. It gets your blood pumping, clears your mind AND IT’S FUN!
I had a really interesting conversation with Kate from Food For The Brain Foundation an innovative charity that teaches the impact of nutrition on the brain – all backed by academic and scientific research.
Check them out – it’s free to register and receive their newsletter also free to take their cognitive test – see if your lifestyle and nutrition is going to impact your brain health in the future.
What do I mean? Did you know only 1% of Alzheimers is caused through genes?
A huge amount of information can be found on the drop down menus from nutritional advice for different mental ill health issues through to the ideal nutrition for different ages throughout life – currently under development.
There are diverse articles with tips on issues from sleeping well to how gut health affects moods and so much more.
So check out this mine of information website and analyse how fit your brain is now and how fit will it be in the future!
Its essential employers do everything possible to ensure their workplaces – physical and virtual – are operating at peak wellness and wellbeing especially with the nearing post covid era we are entering – emotions can be in turmoil.
Delivering training on how our behaviours impact those around us (Emotional Intelligence), how to communicate and collaborate effectively, how to build a resilient, productive environment where individuals at all levels learn skills and tools to look after themselves – and those around them – is critical in these constantly changing and uncertain times.
Where to start? We can overthink and procrastinate for ever trying to identify the ‘perfect’ solution but end up not actually doing anything.
Working during Covid has been a unique experience for everyone depending on their own particular situation. Not everyone has worked from a safe home with its own garden, financially secure with a solid network of support.
Coupled with this is everyone’s unique level of resilience. This is a key area for employers to look at as it directly impacts their business, brand reputation and bottom line. How to give some tools to ensure their people know their level of resilience, how to increase it and thereby be more able to deal with the curve balls life throws.
Having delivered many accredited courses and my own bespoke workshops in this critical area over many years, i-act is the most effective, robust commercial product for staff and their businesses on the market in my view. Why?
Quick deliver – 4 hours – delivered virtually making it accessible for hybrid workers across the globe
Robust, easy to access 168 colour co-ordinated manual, containing over 50 tools for self-care and 95 referral organisations. Digital version also available.
Accredited by the Royal College of Psychiatrists and carries 3 CPD points -for delegates
Accreditation lasts three years with access to I-act’s website for news, updates and downloads
Designed specifically for the workplace
Proactive – not reactive. Focus is on early intervention, building resilience
How to set and maintain personal protective barriers
So much more!
Collaboration and learning together is the best way to grow. Some of the key findings delegates shared on recent courses from diverse industries and levels of seniority include:
“A complex topic nicely categorised by the book and the ‘I-acted’ approach – so ordered, accessible and useable”.
” The self-care and wellbeing advice and activities was a key takeaway for me. It has given me more concrete ideas of where I can improve, particularly as someone who has a diagnosed mental illness.”
“Learning the simple scale tool to start a conversation was my standout. I will definitely use this going forward.”
“From some of the past support I’ve given my team, having the opportunity to understand more about some of the classifications of mental ill health was really helpful.”
“Learning how to ask the suicide question really helped me, It’s a difficult subject”
It seems to me the title ‘First Aider’ gives the impression delegates are ‘qualified’ to deliver first line intervention. This isn’t always the case. The emotional intelligence to speak to others at the time of emotional vulnerability whilst looking after yourself is critical and not something everyone can do naturally.
Yet, many employers don’t assess their employees before putting them on these kind of courses. Are they in the right headspace to do this kind of course? Do they have the communication skills to support someone else? Do they have the insight to know when to get involved and when they need to pass it on to protect themselves? Do they make their self-care a priority? It seems to be more a ‘tick in the box’ exercise. How much damage could that potentially do to both parties – not to mention brand reputation of the business?
I’m often asked what I would do if I wanted to make sure my staff and workplace thrived – not just survived. I would use a journey of steps – ensuring collaboration with staff at every step:
Step one – discover what the emotional temperature of my workplace and people is? To know and not just assume where the pressure points are I would run an Emotional Culture Survey. A quick survey which takes just a few minutes to complete online and examines 10 key areas of pressures across all departments and levels of staff giving results in minutes.
Step two – workshop to understand the impact our behaviours have on those around us which we may be completely unaware of but this impact can last years. Not an issue if that impact is positive – but what if it isn’t?
Step three – run the developmental, global Genos Emotional Intelligence assessments across all levels of staff for them to see any gaps between the level of importance of six core competencies and the level of demonstration raters see followed by coaching sessions to enable them to see insights, actions and benefits leading to stronger 360 connections and increased personal development.
Step four – deliver I-act – Managing and Promoting Positive Mental Health and Wellbeing – for line managers and Understanding and Promoting Positive Mental Health and Wellbeing for non-managers. Both deliver the key tools noted above.
Step five – run continuous workshops, discussions, fun events during which work is not discussed. Instead focussing on empowering staff to break the stigma and fear our emotions can have by talking without fear about emotions. In addition have fun getting to know each other as humans working together who have lives outside of work not just colleagues doing a job.
Now, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. The Government has announced the end of restrictions in England next week.
Is now the time to start preparing your teams and workplace to thrive?
I have long been interested in the kindness of humans and the impact our behaviours and actions have on those around us. Both positive and negative impacts can last decades.
We can all relate to the feelings left by someone in our past years after the event. Their words and actions might fade with time but the feelings their behaviours caused are as raw now as they were then. Think of the worst boss, teacher or partner you ever had. How did they make you feel? How long ago did you know them? See what I mean?
How we show up matters – especially in the workplace, especially if we hold leadership positions.
As humans, many of us do not think about the impact we have on others. We expect them to experience the impact in line with our intentions. But here’s the thing. They don’t know what our intentions were, unless we tell them – which we rarely do.
The pieces of the jigsaw in the picture above, for me, make an effective, intelligent leader:
THINKING – how is what I am going to say and do going to be received? There’s a reason our parents tell us to ‘think before we speak’!
CONNECTING – do I really connect with my team? do I know anything about them outside work? do we have fun at work?
EMPATHETIC – do I empathise with my team? use my awareness of their uniqueness to connect and collaborate with them to ensure they are empowered to flourish in the workplace?
AUTHENTIC – do I really deliver on everything I say I will and if there is an issue which will stop me delivering – do I share this with my team? do I take them on a collaborative journey to deliver what’s needed?
AWARENESS OF SELF AND OTHERS – am I aware of when I might be struggling? what about my team? do I use my knowledge of my team to adapt my behaviours to meet their individual needs?
WHAT IMPACT? – What impact do I really have on my team? do I ask them regularly for their thoughts on what I’m doing well and what I can do better? Do they know I value their opinions even if I’m not going to follow everything, I will always listen to their views.
As a certified Genos Emotional Intelligence Practitioner, I’m even more sure of the jigsaw pieces!
A current project has shown just how critical emotionally intelligent leadership is.
Let me set the context. A global organisation wanted to develop their key leadership team by finding out where they fell in core competency areas compared with how their connections felt.
Each leader nominated several raters from all categories of their connections – line management, peers, direct reports and others (suppliers, clients etc). Each rater completed a survey of 42 questions. The resulting 360 Emotionally Intelligent Leadership report revealed any gaps. The qualitative text facility enables raters to put into context their ratings.
Here’s the thing. Hardly anyone added qualitative text. Leaving many of the leaders bewildered on why they had been scored low in some areas.
My question to them on the debrief was “how does that make you feel?” which drew a range of answers – none of which were positive.
Then I asked “how many of the surveys you were a rater on did you leave qualitative text to give context to your ratings?”
Then came the lightbulb moment….
“Well, I assumed they would know so I didn’t leave any” came the response.
My final question “if you went back to the beginning of this process, would you add some qualitative text to give context to what your rating?”
“Yes, I now know how it feels to get a low score without knowing why”
Why share this event with you? Two reasons really
It never ceases to amaze me how common it is for leaders to ‘assume’ everyone they connect with is clairvoyant and knows what the intention behind their actions was
The power of that lightbulb moment when they realise the power of changing their behaviours.
How we show up matters. Your team are your most critical asset. They are they ones delivery the service for your clients. If they aren’t happy and flourishing – the relationship with your clients won’t either.
What a roller coaster the past couple of years have been.
It seemed we’d turned a corner with the Government lifting restrictions, more and more people leaving their hybrid workplace and returning to their offices – even booking holidays, events and Christmas family gatherings! Life getting ‘back to normal’?
Then, earlier this week came the news of yet another variant. Omnicron had arrived! A vortex of fear, dread, overthinking fell on some intensified by the re-introduction of some restrictions by the UK Government.
Scientists in South Africa alerted the world to this new variant. We know by the time a new variant has been announced, it’s already out there in the world’s population. They couldn’t control the reaction of countries closing their borders. Had they known, would they have shared their discovery?
Borders are starting to close. Restrictions are being re-introduced. It can feel like news channels are on repeat cycles of doom without any context or balance. There is no evidence of which way this new variant will go. The UK Government’s consistent guidance of ‘we have to live with this’, seems to have now been reversed.
It’s no wonder anxiety, fear and overthinking is rising in many of us. So, what can we do?
Control what we can – ignore what we can’t.
Accept some things we cannot control. Governments and scientists will make their decisions. But, here’s the thing. When we accept these things are out of our control, we can stop focussing on them and look at what we can control. The fear, anxiety and negative thinking starts to dissipate. We start to grow stronger and move forward.
Change your thoughts – start by questioning them. What evidence do you have to think that way? Often, we think negatively because our minds are designed to keep us safe and so they over amplify negative thoughts. Merely by questioning our negative thoughts, their power starts to dwindle.
Control – what areas of your life can you focus on, control and inject positivity into? Building in some self-care windows to everyday routines, learning new skills these are some of the building blocks to growing self-esteem, empowerment and resilience. Doing something for somewhere else makes us feel better and them. Start with a simple smile. Watch – it’s infectious!
For employers, what additional things can be considered?
Emotional Intelligence behavioural assessments – our emotions impact our thoughts. Our thoughts impact our behaviours. Our behaviours impact our actions which impact everything and everyone around us. Thing is how we see our behaviours can be very different to how those around us experience them.
i-act’s Managing and Promoting Positive Mental Health and Wellbeing delivers all the tools to proactively build a resilient workplace. The 50+ tools taught in i-act are life-long skills that enable us to deal with all life events. Accredited by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, designed specifically for the workplace and global.
Therefore, I’m going to control what I can and ignore what I can’t – how about you?
Multiple research reports by academics and business bodies as well as World Economic Forum have all researched and published data about the importance of EI – especially in the workplace – consistently over the last decade+.
EI is the key differentiator humans have over Artificial Intelligence (AI) – no machine can persuade, influence nor empathise with humans as well as we can. There will always be a need for high EI talent in all businesses.
Yet many businesses are unaware of the critical importance of this. Many don’t measure it nor access, gap analyse nor develop it. The Great Resignation published in October 2021 spoke of 41% of the global workforce considered moving jobs. But many business leaders are unaware of this nor the simple steps to rectify any hidden issues.
Studies have shown that high levels of emotional intelligence boost career success, mental health, relationships, humour, and happiness.
Many employers invest heavily in a diverse range of training for their teams without assessing their emotional intelligence nor the emotional culture of the environment they work in. This is like building a house on unstable foundations. Why would you waste money, time and effort like that?
So, what can employers do?
Emotional Culture Index
A digital online survey that takes less than five minutes to complete. Measures ten emotions in the workplace on three levels – current feeling, expected feeling and ideal feeling. This can be run across departments to see the general gaps in the culture of the business. This would be a good first step.
A more robust process reveals what’s really going on with your talent giving you time to develop and close any gaps before the risk of them leaving the business.
Workplace Emotional Intelligence Assessments from Genos International focus on the competencies shown in the model below with the respective unproductive and productive state outcomes for each – where do you want your teams sitting?
For instance, the skill of Positive Influence helps people create a productive environment for others. Positive Influence equips you with the capacity to encourage colleagues to cooperate and work effectively together.
People who can positively influence others’ moods, feelings and emotions are empowering to work with and easily motivate those around them.
However, take a moment to consider the unproductive opposite to this – ‘indifferent’ How would you feel working with someone in this category? Just how toxic would that be over time?
Remember, negativity spreads as fast as positivity.
The Genos Emotionally Intelligent Workplace Behaviour survey measures how well you demonstrate emotionally intelligent workplace behaviours in comparison to others. It also reveals your raters’ experience of how well you demonstrate the same behaviours. The better you demonstrate the behaviours measured, the more effective your relationships and work will be. It’s not a test but a key development tool.
Workplace EI Assessments are available in three classifications:
Self How well an individual believes they demonstrate these competencies in the workplace and how important they believe they are.
180 In addition to Self above, the 180 includes comments and ratings from colleagues along with their qualitative text.
360 In addition to the 180, line additional raters from management, clients, suppliers are included in the ratings and comments section
Key Features of the Assessment
Interpretation of results is engaging and readily accessible with easy to navigate reports.
Benchmarked results provide a comparison with others’ self-assessed results and the report outlines the type of behaviours associated with being emotionally intelligent in the workplace.
Raters provide free text responses for each competency assessed. These are captured in the Feedback Report and help understand the context behind rater responses to assessment questions.
A traffic light methodology highlights areas of potential strength and development.
Housed in a modern, responsive, online survey system. Raters can complete on their phone, tablet, PC or Mac, anywhere, at any time.
The coaching process ensures the results are understood, insights are revealed, actions are identified and gaps closed leading to overall development and growth as well as stronger collaboration relationships with raters.
Quick and easy to complete in less than 20 minutes – a total of 42 questions.
Genos International has over 7,500 certified partners – of which I am one! It is a leader in the field of EI, has a global presence, 20 year trackable history, and won multiple industry awards year on year.
“It’s literally a game change for business and life changing for individuals” Dr Ben Palmer co-founder of Genos International.
Contact me for a free discussion on how I can help your busines
The Science of Wellbeing Program is designed to help keep workforce wellbeing in check. It teaches a wide range of techniques and practices in four key areas: mental, physical, social and environmental.
Built on the science of behaviour change and healthy habit formation, this program will reduce stress, and increase productivity and engagement.
The objective of this program is that attendees will feel more confident and capable, boost relationships with others, increase physical vitality, their sense of accomplishment and personal fulfilment in life.
Delivered across four two hour sessions over two weeks, this course carries the option of a 180 EI Assessment.