Seven tips to avoid burning out before Christmas
1. Spot it early
Know your own warning signs, because everybody is unique and can withstand different amounts of stress. Have you dropped your healthy habits – eating well, sleeping well, exercising regularly? Has your performance spiked recently in response to a more demanding workload? Have you lost your appetite? Do you feel lethargic or unfocussed? If so, you might be burning out – time to deal with it.
2. Build your own resilience
Healthy habits keep you in good mental and physical shape, so you can perform to your peak at work. Eat well, sleep well, exercise regularly. And if you’re healthy, you can go further along the performance curve before falling victim to burnout.
3. Know how hard you can work
Your boss always wants you to work harder, but realistically there are limits to what you can do, and both you and they must acknowledge them. Know how hard you can push yourself without burning out. And when you start going past that limit, take action.
Build rest into your work routines. Sometimes it’s difficult to avoid the workload and the deadlines. So its ensuring that you build times during the day that allow you to recover and refocus. Take time out between tasks, even if that’s just for five minutes when you might walk around the block.
5. Care for your mind as well as your body
The mind tires just like the body. Healthy routines care for both. Consider taking up meditation, yoga or mindfulness to give your mind the time and space to recover and relax.
6. For employers: provide flexibility
We value our work-life balance highly. Employers can ensure their employees maintain peak performance, rather than slip into burnout, by ensuring employees have plenty of flexibility in their work arrangements.
One of the best things employees can do is provide that flexibility that employers are looking for at this time of year. We have to do our Christmas shopping, we have to get to the post office. We probably have a lot of social events on.
7. For employers – promote healthy habits
Employers have a big role to play in keeping their employees healthy and burnout free.
They should look for ways they can encourage their employees to develop and maintain healthy habits – lunch breaks to go to the gym, for example. The easiest thing to do when a boss sees their employee working late though, is this: tell them to go home.
Top Tips for Choosing a Mindfulness Provider
1. Make sure you meet your facilitator before signing contracts
2. Check the facilitator has a minimum of 3 years current personal practice, and experience of working with organisations
3. Attends CPD events to update skills and understanding of mindfulness practice and evidence based approaches
4. Check that the values of the facilitator are aligned to the organisation
5. The programme design should fit with the culture of the organisation
6. A variety of delivery styles are available from the provider
7. Check they will pilot each style of learning event and measure the take up rate and completion rate of each
8. Check the learning is evidenced based, action and practice orientated
The Eight Essentials for Maintaining a Healthy Mind
1. Nutrition : Brain health is dependent upon a good flow of blood to the organ, so foods which support cardiovascular health are also beneficial for the brain. The five super foods which have been found to be beneficial for the brain are: whole grain, blueberries, oily fish, avocados and nuts and seeds. Add these five foods to your daily diet.
2. Exercise: Aerobic movement strengthens the mind, oxygenates the blood circulating through brain, improved cognitive functions are most evident with a minimum of 30 minutes exercise x 3 sessions per week.
Note: Excessive exercise is detrimental to immune system
3. Focus: Spend time focusing on a task or goal or taking on challenges. This helps to promote the development of deep brain connections
4. Relaxation: Do nothing intentionally for at least ten minutes per day. Let the mind wander and enter a restful state, which will enable the brain to refresh and recharge. According to research the mind performs at its best with regular breaks approximately every 90 minutes. Just a short 3 minute break which can be taken whilst sitting at your desk is all it takes.
5. Social: Spend time with friends, family, and/or colleagues building connections and developing relationships. Isolation and social exclusion is detrimental to mental health. Humans cannot survive alone, we are interdependent on others and therefore connection to other beings is a basic human need.
6. Play: When was the last time you were spontaneous, or took time out to do something creative or enjoyed a novel experience? Spending time doing fun and novel activities helps to make new connections in the brain
7. Reflection: Help to integrate your mind by taking some quiet reflection time, focusing on the sensations, thoughts, feelings, and images, you are experiencing
8. Sleep: The brain needs sleep to consolidate learning and recover from the experiences of the day
Getting Rid of Those Monday Blues
1.Give yourself permission to wallow – Allow yourself 5 minutes of self indulgent wallowing
2.Acknowledge your feelings – take a few minutes to focus upon your state of mind, exploring the feelings and sensations you are experiencing
3.Visualise your feelings, what do they look like, how big are they, what colour are they? Give them a name, label your feelings
4.Give yourself some compassion – don’t beat yourself up, it’s Ok to feel this way
5.Divert your focus – get moving, go for a walk, or some other form of physical activity. It may be the last thing you feel like doing but the activity will kick start the production of Endorphins, which are the happy hormones
6.Smile – there is a direct link between our physiology and psychology. It is not possible to feel blue for long if you have a smile on your face.
7.Meet a friend for a comforting Hot Chocolate and a catch up
8.Play your favourite upbeat music
9.Random Act of Kindness – be spontaneous, do something nice or pay a compliment to someone you don’t know. Doing something good for someone else, makes you feel good about yourself.
10.Start a journal, by writing down FIVE things which you are grateful for. I started a journal myself twelve years ago and every day I make one positive entry. Then when I start to feel “Blue” I have read through some of my entries and the world doesn’t seem that bad after all.
How to encourage people to take more personal responsibility at work
1.Don’t just have the easy conversations, but also the tough ones
2.Assume positive intent even when having the tough conversations
3.Work collaboratively to find a solution but stress the ‘You’ so the individual recognises they need to take personal responsibility; it’s down to them
4.Use coaching techniques and high quality open questions to encourage the individual to find a solution. If not, it is perceived as another ‘tell’ with little sense of ownership from the individual.
5.Involvement = Buy in
6.Emphasise the individual will be supported and if not there will be consequences. Ultimately this is their choice. They will choose the outcome.
7.Continue to give attention to the good performers. It might be a refreshing change if those ‘misbehaving’ have always received attention, even if negative
8.Be brave, the bravest conversations usually bring the biggest rewards
9.Be aware of your own emotional intelligence and make sure you get support too, if needed
10.If you are uncomfortable with ‘tough conversations’, reframe it in your mind to a ‘solution finding conversation’ or a ‘brave conversation’, something that works for you. This will positively improve your whole demeanour whilst conducting the conversation. Remember, this will ultimately benefit the individual and the rest of the team.
Top tips on dealing with a perfectionist within your team
◾Praise them when they complete work on time. This highlights the importance of meeting deadlines rather than fixating on one task for too long.
◾Encourage them to take breaks and go home on time.
◾Make it clear what you expect from them so that they don’t stress about going above and beyond on matters which aren’t actually that beneficial or important to the organisation.
◾Bring them into the office banter – this will help them improve their relationships with colleagues as well as relaxing them.
Top Tips for Engagement
1) Organisational Fairness – organisations talk about transparency and most people when asked agree that it is a good idea but few follow through on it. Transparency, in an organisation where everyone can see everything everyone is doing provides a major opportunity for organisational fairness. Everyone can see what is involved, if something changes, everyone can see why and silent parties can be seen for what they are doing.
2) SCARF – The five social domains of being human, Security, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness and Fairness as identified by David Rock. Ensuring the social needs of employees are rewarded rather than threatened, as is so often the case in organisational life, leads to an increase in engagement.
3) Honor the Passing – before rushing full steam ahead with change, allow space and time to honor or mark the passing of the “old” way. Before individuals can move onto the next thing, they must be allowed to grieve. An important part of the grieving process is marking or honouring the passing.
4) Provide a Secure Base – show that you care about and belief in the abilities of your people and you will give them the belief in themselves and the confidence to make decisions and take risks.
5) Mindful Communication – encourage the practice of Mindful communication. This will have a positive impact upon the individual’s Social Intelligence.
Mindfulness - The Breathing Space meditationThree-minute Breathing Space meditation
Step 1: becoming aware
Deliberately adopt an erect and dignified posture, whether sitting or standing. If possible, close your eyes. Then, bring your awareness to your inner experience and acknowledge it, asking: what is my experience right now?
• What thoughts are going through the mind? As best you can, acknowledge thoughts as mental events.
• What feelings are here? Turn towards any sense of discomfort or unpleasant feelings, acknowledging them without trying to make them different from how you find them.
• What body sensations are here right now? Perhaps quickly scan the body to pick up any sensations of tightness or bracing, acknowledging the sensations, but, once again, not trying to change them in any way.
Step 2: gathering and focus attention
Now, redirecting the attention to a narrow ‘spotlight’ on the physical sensations of the breath, move in close to the physical sensations of the breath in the abdomen… expanding as the breath comes in ...and falling back as the breath goes out. Use each breath as an opportunity to anchor yourself into the present. And if the mind wanders, gently escort the attention back to the breath.
Step 3: expanding attention
Now, expand the field of awareness around the breathing so that it includes a sense of body as a whole, your posture and facial expression, as if the whole body was breathing. If you become aware of any sensations of discomfort or tension, feel free to bring your focus of attention right in to the intensity by imagining that the breath could move into and around the sensations. In this, you are helping to explore the sensations, befriending them, rather than trying to change them in any way. If they stop pulling for your attention, return to sitting, aware of the whole body, moment by moment.
Reference; Mark Williams and Danny Penman, Mindfulness a practical guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World
Food for your brain – The neuroscience of customer service
In the true spirit of working with your brain, we will not be providing you with solutions, instead we will provide you questions and pieces of data for you to create your own connections and “Aha” moments
1. How can you support the customer to come up with their own answers? e.g. provide data with the linkages missing. What data could you offer that would lead the customer towards your products or services?
2. How can you support the customer to go and find out for themselves? e.g. product trials, test drives etc let them experience it for themselves
3. How can you provide a solution that is in line with the other persons thinking? e.g. what do you really know about your customers
4. Find ways of stretching the customers thinking e.g. providing options and alternatives. A customer may ring to book a table for dinner to celebrate that special birthday, by providing options the customer may decide that they like the idea of booking a private dining room and having a special menu.
5. Find ways of accentuating the positives e.g. what is good about your product or services, how do you capture the good stuff and let others know how good you are?
Top tips to being a Good Listener
• Keep the other person(s) your whole focus of attention
• Stay quiet whilst the other person(s) is talking
• Give the other person(s) time and space to talk
• Reduce the volume of your internal voice
• Interrupting can suggest a lack of respect
• Show you are listening through your body language and facial expressions
• Notice when the other person’s body language and facial expressions appear to be at odds with their words
Dealing with Frazzle
1. Sit down somewhere where you won’t be disturbed for five minutes.
2. Acknowledge what is going on for you i.e that you are feeling frazzled
3. Take 30 seconds to just sit with that
4. Focus your attention on your Breathe
5. Notice how each in breath is followed by an out breath, allow your body to breathe naturally. Just follow each breath in and out noticing the pause, between breaths. Keep your attention on the sensations that accompany the breaths. You may experience a tickling in the nostrils, or a sense of stretching in the belly. When the mind wanders, just notice where it went and then bring your attention back to your breathing. Continue focusing on your breathing for a full minute
6. At the end of a minute, turn your attention to, what’s going on for you now? What is the predominant emotion? Try to find a label for it i.e. I am feeling uptight, or I am feeling overwhelmed etc. Whatever it is just acknowledge it and let it be.
7. Now repeat step 4 & 5 for another full minute
8. At the end of the second minute, turn your attention back to what is going on for you right now? May be things will have moved on. Whatever it is just acknowledge and let it be.
9. You can now return to the workplace and will be more likely to be able to think clearly and focus your attention upon the task in hand
Building a Top Team
There is an endless list of ways to build the ideal team – there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to build your team, but here are some pointers to help you in the right direction.
• Build the team in a way that members feel responsible and accountable for team achievements. Team members need autonomy and to feel confident in exercising their discretion, within previously agreed parameters
• Focus on developing the strengths of individual team members, give recognition to team member’s personal strengths and allow them to utilise their personal strengths as much as possible.
• Employee engagement should be one of your organisations core strategies
• Demonstrate your commitment to enabling team member engagement
• Talk passionately about your vision
• Listen from heart, not only to what team members say, but what they don’t say and what is the reality of their situation
• Develop team members not only for today but also for the challenges of the future
• Give time to tending to the organisational “climate”
• For most people non-financial rewards are the most significant motivator: get these right and team members will be engaged and motivated
• Finally and where many teams fall down – Communication
Have an established method for the teams to give feedback and receive honest performance feedback
Provide important business information regularly
Ensure team members communicate clearly and honestly with each other
Enable team members bring diverse opinions to meetings and discussions
Address conflicts raised as soon as possible, do not put them off, they rarely go away.
Tips for Floorwalking for Service Excellence
Do you offer a friendly and welcoming service which makes your customers and users want to return and spend more time in your Libraries.
Floorwalking is not new in libraries, staff, have always been out on the floor of the library, shelving, tidying, creating book displays and so on…..... However delivery of a pro-active customer focused service relies upon a different type of floorwalking, different skills and staff competencies.
Three main comments we hear when working with Libraries which have recently introduced a more pro-active approach to floorwalking are:
• “Do you work here?” – asked of staff several times an hour
• “Where have all the staff gone?” – as questioned by customers
• “Staff always migrate back to the security of the desk.” – as said by library managers
There is a new breed of people to be found working in libraries “The Pod Hugger”
Why should it be and what can be done?
Why do customers repeatedly ask staff “Do you work here?” or “Where have all the staff gone?” One reason is that while staff are working out on the floor, their customer Radar is not switched on, they do not portray a personal presence which gives out non-verbal messages that they are staff.
Why do staff migrate back to the desk or pod? Security is the big reason, sometimes staff do not feel safe, but more often than not it is more about staff feeling “out of place” or to use a phrase once said to me “a fish out of water”.
So what can be done?
• to develop a personal presence when out on the floor of the library
• to build their self confidence
• to enhance their knowledge of the stock and services
• to have their customer radar on at all times
• to anticipate the needs of customers
• to have an awareness of others colleagues on duty
• to spend time listening to the sub text and not just the headlines when speaking to staff
• to understand and work with staff through their concerns
• catch staff doing things well and give immediate feedback
• to spend more time focusing on people management
Introversion and ExtroversionMichelle McArthur-Morgan Founding Partner
Many people recognise their introvert and extrovert characteristics; in the most general sense people usually label a shy person as an introvert and a loud, outgoing person as an extrovert.
The fact of the matter is that each and every one of us has both introvert and extrovert characteristics, which show themselves in different circumstances and situations; often one is more dominant than the other.
So what tips can we offer in relation to introvert and extroverts?
1. Firstly, as Carl Jung identified, we tend to value our dominant type the most – so watch out for how you react to or deal with those who demonstrate characteristics that are different to your own.
2. Even those who are recognised as extreme introverts or extraverts may not always act according to their type – so don’t make assumptions.
As managers it is important that we support both extroverts and introverts – one of our recent case studies (Janet Thompson) recently detailed her own experience of introverts and extroverts, here are a few of Janet’s tips for supporting team members who are strong introverts in a meeting environment:
• Encourage them
• Cue them in
• Don’t make them fight for your attention – especially when extrovert characters are involved.
Find out more about Janet’s experience (Janet Thompson Introvert and extrovert).
And what of extroverts, here are a few ideas that may help in meeting situations:
• Allow spontaneity, don’t be too rigid about sticking to the agenda
• Encourage thinking out loud and sharing of ideas
• Don’t get too tied down in detail - keep the meeting energised
Tough times require a massive shift in mindset
Library staff have endured many changes over the last few years with introduction of IT, numerous restructures, self issue, new library management systems, reduction in numbers of staff, and integrated services to name but a few.
Many staff are feeling fatigued and worn down by the continuous changes, morale is low as staff are worried about the future security of their jobs, and now more than ever the pressure is on, to deliver even more services.
Managers are not only having to cope with the pressures of reduced budgets and resources, but also they have to find ways of encouraging, supporting and motivating their staff to adapt to new roles and ways of working.
You may well say that this is nothing new….... and you may well be correct, however what is certainly different is the massive change in attitude which is required by staff and managers. The changes we are experiencing today are not so much procedural and process based change, they are about changes in attitudes and beliefs.
Staff are taking on new roles, as more Libraries become, learning and business hubs. It is no longer about doing it for the customer but enabling, coaching and facilitating the customer to do it for themselves. Libraries now have to be entrepreneurial and have a commercial attitude, something which is not aligned to the traditional library ethos. All of this requires a massive shift in mindset, it is no good taking small steps, there is not the time.
So how can you….....
• Support your staff
• Inspire your staff
• Alay their fears and worries
• Develop a flexible entrepreneurial team
Here are just a few tips to get you started:
• Listen from the heart, understand the sub text of what they are saying
• Speak from the heart, do not be afraid to show your emotion
• Catch colleagues doing something good and give timely, genuine and sincere praise
• Stop rumours before they start, fill the information void, with positive news before others fill it with negative news
• When there is no news, say there is no news, otherwise others will invent it
• Focus on your circle of influence and not your circle of concern
• Maintain credits in your emotional bank account with staff members
• Encourage your staff to build up a network of people they can turn to for emotional support, some who with give them an emotional cuddle and others who will tell them to stop feeling sorry for themselves and get on with it
• If you have not already got one, develop a competency framework of the behaviours you expect staff (and managers) at all levels of the library service to display
• Invest in your staff by continuing to provide training and development opportunities.
Tips for working with Volunteers
1. Be prepared to put in lots of work up front, a well planned and managed volunteer programme can be mutually beneficial for the community, the staff, and the volunteer. Be clear about why you want to work with Volunteers.
2. Introducing volunteers into the workplace is not a cheap quick fix, you will need to allocate resources, (including monetary) to introduce and operate a well managed programme
3. Working with a Volunteers agency, can be one way of recruiting volunteers and managing the programme, however, you will still need to invest time into building up a strong partnership relationship with the volunteer co-ordinators. To read more visit our website “Why Partnerships Don’t Work”
4. Involve staff members at the earliest possible stage, get them involved in deciding what tasks you would like volunteers to carry out
5. Be specific when advertising for volunteers, do not just put out adverts saying “Volunteers Wanted”
6. Have a joining pack ready to give out to people when they enquire, have it available on line, as a download
7. One of the big “put off’s” for people volunteering is the time it takes from declaring their interest to actually getting started in the role. Review your recruitment processes are they tedious and bureaucratic? You may wish to amend them for your volunteers
8. Keep your volunteer agreement to a maximum of two sides of A4 paper
9. Before embarking on the programme, agree how you will monitor and evaluate the success of the programme
10. A final thought – “Who is going to pay for their tea and coffee?”
Keith’s Icebreaker – The Pig Personality TestKeith Nicholson Founding Partner
I have used this icebreaker for many years, in all sorts of situations from small training groups to large conferences. Its success is actually in how it is delivered, it is fun and it must be delivered with fun & enthusiasm.
Tools; Pen / Pencil, Piece of paper.
Instruction: Ask the participants to “Draw a Pig”
Analysis: At some time or other we have all completed some type of Psycho-metric test, be it in Take a Break magazine, the Sunday papers or when applying for a job. By simply drawing a pig we can give some insight into your personality.
If the pig is drawn towards the top of your page – you are a positive and optimistic person.
Towards the bottom of the page, you are pessimistic and tend to be negative.
Facing Left – believe in tradition, are friendly, remember dates and birthdays.
Facing forwards, towards you – you are direct, enjoy playing devils advocate, and neither fear or avoid discussions.
Facing right – you are innovative and active but have neither a sense of family or remember dates.
If drawn with many details, you are an analytical, cautious and distrustful.
Drawn with few details you are emotional, naïve, care little for details and take risks.
If drawn with four legs showing you are secure, stubborn and stick to your ideals.
If drawn with less than four legs you are insecure or living through a period of major change.
The larger the pigs ears – the better the listener you are.
And last but not least ………the longer the pig’s tail ……..
………….the better your sex life!
When not to use an icebreaker
If you’re still scratching your head trying to work out which of the many icebreakers you want to use from your toolkit, it may be that you don’t use any of them!
Keith Patching comments:
“Icebreakers can be treated with cynicism, especially if participants suspect that a session is going to paper over cracks, and deflect attention to underlying issues they may have brought to the programme.
Before you ‘automatically’ design in your icebreaker, how about checking whether a group already know each other, and has baggage that, far from being pushed away by what people may see as playing games, needs to be unpacked right up front.
Sometimes you have to show people that a session is going to hit directly at what is bugging them.
As we have all experienced at some time in our professional careers, issues and concerns have a way of surfacing, sometimes when we are least expecting them, and least prepared to deal with them. If you think this is likely, ditch the icebreaker and get those issues out right up front when you are in control and ready to show you are taking participants’ concerns seriously.
Sometimes the best way to get engagement is not to ‘break the ice’, but to confront what’s bugging people right up front. It can be terrifying, but it works.
Alternatively, step on the ice yourself and let the group understand who you really are.”
Resilient people are aware of the situation, their own emotional reactions and the behavior of those around them. In order to manage feelings, it is essential to understand what is causing them and why. By remaining aware, resilient people can maintain their control of the situation and think of new ways to tackle problems.
Our keys tips for building resilience:
An Understanding that Setbacks are Part of Life:
While we cannot avoid many of these problems, we can remain open, flexible and willing to adapt to change.
An Internal Locus of Control:
Do you perceive yourself as having control over your own life? Or do you blame outside sources for failures and problems? Generally, resilient people tend to have what psychologists call an internal locus of control. They believe that the action they take will affect the outcome of an event. Of course, some factors are simply outside of our personal control, such as natural disasters. While we may be able to put some blame on external causes, it is important to feel as if we have the power to make choices that will affect our situation, our ability to cope and our future.
Strong Problem-Solving Skills:
Resilient individuals, are able to calmly and rationally look and the problem and envision a successful solution.
Having Strong Social Connections:
Whenever you’re dealing with a problem, it is important to have people who can offer support. Talking about the challenges you are facing can be an excellent way to gain perspective, look for new solutions or simply express your emotions.
Identifying as a Survivor, Not a Victim:
When dealing with any potential crisis, it is essential to view yourself as a survivor. Avoid thinking like a victim of circumstance, and instead look for ways to resolve the problem. While the situation may be unavoidable, you can still stay focused on a positive outcome.
Being Able to Ask for Help:
While being resourceful is an important part of resilience, it is also essential to know when to ask for help. Sources of help include: Books, on-line communities and support groups.
Other things which one can do:
• Know and celebrate your own strengths, qualities & specialness
• Feel the fear and do it anyway – what’s the worst that can happen?
• Say ‘boo’ to your monsters
• On average, an individual lives for 1000 months – keep it in perspective
• Plan a non-monetary treat for somebody
• Give & be open to positive feedback & active listening
• If you have made a mistake, admit it and move on. People learn from mistakes
How Stressed Are You?
Find out by doing the following stress test and discover your ‘Stress Quotient’ or ‘SQ’.
Please answer the following 30 questions as honestly as you can, without thinking over each one for too long
1 Do you feel angry or irritable much of the time?
2 Do you have dramatic mood swings?
3 Do you suffer from obsessive thoughts or actions, such as repeated hand washing or constantly checking whether you have left the gas on?
4 Do you often feel apprehensive or frightened?
5 Do you suffer from diminished libido?
6 Do you have feelings of self-loathing or lack of self worth?
7 Do you have suicidal thoughts?
8 Do you find yourself unable to concentrate?
9 Do you feel constantly guilty?
10 Do you experience feelings of paranoia?
11 Do you get aches in your back and shoulder ?
12 Do you suffer from insomnia, nightmares or simply wake up still feeling tired?
13 Do you suffer from breathlessness?
14 Do you suffer from frequent indigestion, constipation, or diarrhoea?
15 Do you experience muscle twitches?
16 Do you feel constantly tired?
17 Do you suffer from pains in the chest or tightness?
18 Do you suffer from palpitations or a ‘lump’ in the throat or stomach?
19 Have you experienced any dramatic changes in your menstrual cycles?
20 Do you suffer from sweaty or clammy hands?
21 Do you always say ‘yes’ when you are asked to do more, either at work or friends and family?
22 Do you rigidly stick to routines?
23 Do you either clench or unclench your fists, and / or clench your jaw and/or grind your teeth?
24 Do you drink large quantities of either caffeine or alcohol?
25 Are you too busy to relax?
26 Do you find it hard to make decisions, and feel increasingly frustrated by this difficulty?
27 Do you set yourself unrealistic deadlines?
28 Do you pick fights with people?
29 Do you work longer and longer to achieve the same or less?
30 Have you found either that you are overeating; or that you have entirely lost your appetite?
Total up your YES answers...........................
If you scored.......................
3 or less : Check your pulse to make sure you are still breathing.
between 4—10 : Time for a holiday or a break from your normal routine.
between 11-20 : Time to seek help. You may need to change your lifestyle.
between 21-30 : Psychological burnout is defiantly a major danger
Dealing with Stress
When dealing with change in the workplace:
• Focus on the positive/ benefits of the change
• Visualise the future, when the change has been fully integrated into the workplace, consider how things will look and feel then
• Have open, honest, non judgemental communication, share your reservations and feelings and encourage others to do similar
• Use a “Parking” system to free up your energies until the appropriate time and place
• Accept what you cannot change
At the end of the day:
Make sure you give yourself at least 20 minutes per day of personal ME time – it’s important to spend time enjoying what you like to do without any other distractions puling you in different directions.
Remember that you are not alone and that talking to others can help alleviate stress. The following may be able to help provide you with emotional support:
• Colleagues / Line manager
• HR Department
• Listening / counselling communities
• GP & PCT agencies
• Internet groups
• Religious groups
To help ease the stress you are under in the work place, emotionally distance yourself from the problem by doing the following:
• Take a short break – physically withdraw from spot
• Change tasks
• Write the “issue” down and file it
• Use support to achieve objectivity
• Use rituals (e.g. return home, put key in special place & shelve the day)
• Write a to do list at the end of the day and leave it in your desk
• Distraction activities, e.g. hobbies, pleasurable activities.
You can also help improve the situation through emotional release. Try the below and see what works for you:
• Physical activity – a run, a game
• Loud music
• Let off steam in a safe place
• Books, video, radio
• Massage, self treats.
• Chocolate – boost your dopamine receptors
• Express your feelings – be assertive.
It’s important to keep everything in perspective and focus on the positives, rather than dwelling on the problem:
• Know and celebrate your own strengths, qualities and specialness
• Feel the fear and do it anyway – what’s the worst that can happen?
• Say ‘boo’ to your monsters
• On average, an individual lives for 1000 months – keep it in perspective
• Plan a non-monetary treat for somebody
• Give and be open to positive feedback and active listening
• If you have made a mistake, admit it and move on. People learn from mistakes.
Change, Change, Change.Sian Mathews, Senior Leadership Consultant & Keith Patching, Director of Leadership and Organisational Development
We can imagine that you are experiencing the impact of change on multiple levels at the moment. It’s relatively easy to rationalise change but much harder to sail through it, even if it is a change that you have chosen!
Most of us are familiar with the Transition Curve, a way of recognising and understanding how people actually experience negatively perceived change. What people often forget is that it is important and inevitable to slide down before you can climb back up the curve.
Sliding down the Transition Curve result’s in lowering of self-confidence and self-esteem. So go out of your way to boost your confidence and self-esteem – defend yourself, protect yourself and fortify yourself!
Well, it depends upon your own sense of self. Try one of these thoughts and put it into action. Different people find different things work well for them, so don’t worry if some of these just don’t appeal.
1. Capture an event, moment or experience on paper or screen that exemplifies for you what makes you feel proud of what you have achieved and refer to it daily. Then set yourself a goal that you think could be equally rewarding in
2. Think outside of yourself: do something for someone else and ask those close to you to do something for you.
3. Take time out. Roam a gallery; read; sit on top of a hillock or mountain; paint, write or learn something new; meet people with different perspectives to shed light on your own understandings.
4. Be selfish. Allocate 2 days or even 2 hours for YOU and do something you’ve never done before. Be daft: giggle, dump the cares and run free. Take the time to recharge your batteries. Each and every one of these tips can help you get down the curve and back up the other side to sanity again!
What can organisations do to help people through The Transition Curve?
David Taylor outlines some essential tips for leaders:
• Give feedback about performance
• Challenge assumptions
• Define performance indicators
• Explain the “big picture” (purpose and benefits of change)
• Look for small, early successes
• Give people time and space
• Encourage positive “health habits” – keep practising new successful behaviours
• Give fast feedback about results
Personal Potential GymSue Vogan, Training Partner
on that treadmill – set yourself a challenging target
Get on your bike – try something totally new
Lift those weights – stretch your ‘communication’ muscles
Step into action – cross train those skills
Weigh in – read a book about skill improvement
Coach – work with a colleague to achieve new heights
Exercise the mind - read something new
Increase your self awareness - ask for some feedback
Polish your existing skills - keep stretching those 'communication' muscles
Try a new approach - keep at it until you are competent
Aim for your own Olympic Gold - personally or professionally
Sign up to a daily prompt website - a new thought for each day
I just love the management pocketbooks for a quick refresh - and would recommend the "Management Models Pocketbook" for that Work Out for Managers.
Graphics Made EasyMichelle McArthur-Morgan Founding Partner
As a facilitator I am always looking for new ideas to incorporate into the learning experience to stimulate the senses.
For example, I provide fresh fruit and mints to stimulate the taste buds.
I use Mr. Sketch scented pens (http://onlineshop.rnib.org.uk/) for the sense of smell. I also use Slinky’s stress balls and putty to keep the finger ends stimulated, the brain relaxed and open for business (http://www.learninggoodies.com).
A couple of years ago I was looking for a more creative way of introducing graphics into the learning when I came across ‘Graphics Made Easy’ (http://www.graphicsmadeeasy.co.uk), a fantastic email course that helps non-artist (just like me!) create some great looking images.
Developed by Penny Pullan and Vanessa Randle, the course is simple and easy to follow and within only a few days I was producing some really great looking flipcharts.
Workshops are also offered to develop skills further, helping anyone to capture and record the learning graphically. What a great reminder of a training day and a wonderful way of keeping the learning alive back in the workplace.
It’s All About NamesVal Brooks, Training Partner
If, like me, you have a problem remembering people’s names you’ll find this tip really useful!
To remember names - use the pneumonic ‘LAURA’
L - Look at the person
A - Ask their name
U - Use their name
R - Repeat the name
A - Associate something relevant with the name...e.g, my surname is Brooks. I always suggest the association Water (Brook).
But be careful, with word association it is easy to remember the associated word rather than the real name!!