R U OK to have the Conversation?
RU OK? day will be held on Thursday 9 September, 2021. It is a national day of action dedicated to reminding everyone that every day is the day to ask, “Are you OK?” and support those struggling with life’s ups and downs.
The day has been held annually since 2009, but in this pandemic, and with lockdowns in place in many areas, checking in with others has never been more important.
Many of us have the best of intentions – we know we should check in and see how others are doing, however, having conversations about stress and wellbeing do not come naturally to most of us. As individuals, we can feel uncomfortable opening up and leaders can feel they are prying. This often means that the conversation doesn’t happen at all or is covered quickly so everyone can move on with the more comfortable and familiar work conversations.
The Importance of Wellbeing Right Now
There is no doubt that this pandemic is impacting our wellbeing and is challenging our brains! As humans, we are tribal by nature and are designed to connect with others. The pressures of social distancing and living with ongoing uncertainty and unpredictability are putting our brains into survival mode. When this happens, we become less tolerant of others and prioritise looking after number one (ourselves and our loved ones). We also narrow our thinking and are more prone to negative thoughts and emotions, which impact our wellbeing and our long-term mental and physical health.
These effects are exacerbated when we work remotely without the usual opportunities for informal catchups in our day. So it’s no wonder then that ‘Wellbeing’ has been identified ‘as the top priority for people entering the 21st Century workforce’ in the 2021 Atlassian and PwC ‘Return on Action’ Report. In 2020, ‘wellbeing’ ranked in fourth place.
Fortunately, organisations are in a privileged place to support the psychological health of their people by ensuring individuals have the skills and tools to manage their own wellbeing and equipping managers with the tools to lead the wellbeing of others.
Being able to talk about sensitive subjects such as Wellbeing, Stress, Change and Resilience is important, but how do we help people have these conversations?
A ‘Gamechanger’ for Enabling Conversations
Wellbeing conversations present a twofold challenge – people often don’t how to express themselves and there is no common language or shared understanding of what wellbeing is to enable productive discussions as individuals or as a team.
We believe this challenge needs a new approach, a Gamechanger in fact (Definition of Gamechanger – an event, idea, or procedure that effects a significant shift in the current way of doing or thinking about something).
Learning how our brains work, both for and against us, and applying practical insights from the world of Neuroscience to manage ourselves is the focus of our Gamechanger program. Gamechanger is about the person as a whole person, as opposed to a focus on work alone and everything learned can be applied at home.
Going through the 8 lessons of the program as a team creates a shared understanding and a common language for people to explore how to apply this information to themselves, their team, the organisation and the stakeholders they serve. The 8 lessons cover –
1. Welcome to your Amazing Brain
2. The Power of Neuroplasticity
3. Balancing the Negativity Bias
4. Building Change Agility
5. Your Brain and Stress
6. Prioritising your Self Care
7. Powering Up Your Productivity
8. Boosting your Resilience
Using the Leader’s Resource for Meaningful Conversations
To support the Gamechanger program, we have developed a Leader’s Resource to assist leaders in leading the wellbeing of others. Leaders use the resource to facilitate meaningful team conversations around the lesson topics and help maintain momentum between the program’s live interactive webinars.
Conversations like these enhance individual wellbeing through building trust, curiosity and genuine interest in others which help everyone involved develop and grow.
When we facilitate such conversations as a leader, with genuine curiosity and understanding, and without any repercussions for speaking up, then we are creating a safe environment and leading the wellbeing of ourselves and others.
So what’s the Gamechanger? – When we understand how our brains work AND we can discuss not only what we are learning, but how we can use this information, both inside and outside of work, we are enabling deeper conversations. We are also creating a climate of sharing and openness. When we feel safe, we are more open-minded, resilient, motivated, and persistent and better able to perform at our best.
The benefit for organisations who exercise their duty of care in this key area is that they are not only supporting their people’s wellbeing, but also positively impacting performance, productivity and engagement.
If you would like to know more about Gamechanger and our Leader’s Resource, please contact us.