The tried and true, classic approach to team building, leadership training and executive development has surely provided results. But in the complexity of this pandemic day and age, are we tackling the right issues and honing the correct skills? While technological advancement brings with it not only freedom and efficiency but a slew of new issues from social media addiction to loss of human connection, how should individuals and companies adapt?
Let’s start by taking a look at what some of the key stakeholders require in this rapidly changing environment.
Employees, faced with new job uncertainty, a shift for many from traditional office to remote work, and the new stresses that come from working fully or partly from home, need mental and physical fortitude as well as resilience to deal with these changes, opportunities for ‘real’ connection, and guidance and understanding from managers and leaders.
From the most mundane issues like not having a decent chair and proper set up at home conducive to remote work to the more complex ones such as feelings of loneliness and isolation resulting from the lack of daily human contact with coworkers, such issues begin to weigh on workers, insidiously yet with potentially dire consequences. Decreased productivity and lack of motivation may lead to physical and mental illness manifested in absenteeism, increased sick days, attrition or long-term disability.
Leaders, particularly in times of crisis and upheaval, need focus, empathy, critical thinking and analytical decision-making. Unfortunately, these are the very skills that go the wayside when faced with stress. A brain under duress falls back into survival mode - the breath gets short, the body tightens up, and a sense of urgency rises forcing us to fall into old patterns - degrading our ability to weigh different outcomes or attentively listen to other perspectives. These can all prove disastrous for leaders and their companies at arguably the worst possible time.
But it's not all doom and gloom. We can tackle the right issues by training the right skills.
For employee physical and mental fortitude, research has proven yoga and meditation to be indispensable. We train the mind just as we train the body - through simple practices and repetition. And by training the body, we train the mind. A body with strength and at ease gives the mind a chance to think about something other than the neck and back pain, digestion issues, fatigue and sluggishness or any other ailments that pester the less healthy.
For leaders needing focus, empathy, critical-thinking and analytical decision-making, research has proven that meditation and mindfulness practices really work. A simple meditative breathing practice that focuses the mind gives us a pocket in time, a little space to separate ourselves from the stresses around us. Through this process, we cultivate the ability to extricate ourselves from the situation and this in turn affords us the ability to listen to others and weigh options. The ability to step back and listen not only helps the leader but is inextricably linked to the empathy those around require of their leaders. A leader who has the space and wherewithal to pay attention to their employees has a much better chance of recognizing if the isolation of remote work or uncertainty and change is negatively affecting them. And these are the types of leaders we need to cultivate.
It’s time to embrace a different approach to training. And as our friendly, neighborhood meditators remind us, there is no time but the present.
For inquiries on how you can change the lives of your employees and leaders through meditation, mindfulness and wellness training, email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org