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Redefining Resilience in the Next Normal

Redefining Resilience in the Next Normal

COVID-19 has thrown a curveball into our lives, and upended business operations and everyday life. But when you’re faced with a curveball, you try to hit it as hard as you can. Many companies and individuals instantly adapted to the “new normal” which consisted of stay at home orders and Zoom meetings. Some of us were agile and able to overcome the hardships, while others struck out. But over a year has passed since the pandemic was declared, and it’s safe to say that we’ve grown accustomed to the strange reality of this new normal. Now, our focus is what life will look like post-COVID era: the “next normal.

We can all agree that thriving through the next normal requires us to be proactive. An emotionally resilient company with a mentally tough team is more equipped to weather through tumultuous times than an organization that doesn’t prioritize resilience. 

Redefining Resilience

Depending who you ask, “resilience” may be defined differently. Some experts define resilience as the ability to bounce back, while others believe resilience is the ability to preserve basic functionality in the face of adversity. It’s no surprise this term has many definitions — resilience is a dynamic concept with different meanings for numerous organizations, industries, individuals, and phases of life. Despite the different definitions of resilience, there seems to be an underlying concept: resilience is exhibiting adaptive positive functioning during and after times of upheaval. 

resilience is a dynamic concept with different meanings for numerous organizations, industries, individuals, and phases of life

Given that COVID-19 has exceedingly tested our emotional resiliency, we need to prepare ourselves for more curveballs in a post-viral era. But what does the future of resiliency look like? Read on as we redefine resilience as we reach the light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel and enter the next normal. 

Leaders Will Juggle a Hybrid Model of Workforce

Hybrid Workforce

The demand for workplace flexibility has been on the rise even before the onset of COVID-19. In a 2019 survey of 1,202 full-time workers, more than half of on-site workers want to start working remotely in the next five years. Although the results of this survey did not predict the next two years of self-isolation and lockdowns forced upon us, it did foreshadow the favourability of remote working, which will still hold true after the pandemic subsides. For some individuals, the virus unveiled a more efficient way of working than in a traditional workplace environment. In the aftermath of the pandemic within many industries, executives expect their employees to work in a hybrid model of on-site and remote settings. 

 

Leaders must juggle with leading both employees who work in an office and others who work remotely. Developing resilience in the workplace is hard enough to achieve. Now, the hybrid model requires leaders to maintain equal engagement and effective communication across all employees. In our experience, it is critical to help leaders stay equally connected and productive with their remote team as with their on-site team so they feel valued and appreciated in their work role.

hybrid Workforce

Learning & Development Professionals are Cultivating Resilience

COVID-19 has globally forced us to keep up-to-date with new systems and processes, from learning how to navigate advanced technology, to using emotional intelligence to effectively lead. Going forward, companies must strengthen their learning and development programs and adjust management strategies to prepare for future demands and expanding economies. 

L&D professionals have globally helped pivot their company to manage through change, and their spotlight in the workplace will still shine post-pandemic

L&D professionals have globally helped pivot their company to manage through change, and their spotlight in the workplace will still shine post-pandemic. In order for a company to build the powerful skills needed post-COVID, L&D professionals will continue to have to prioritize three programs: upskilling and reskilling, leadership and management, and virtual onboarding to ensure they maintain a competitive culture. 

The rapid growth of industries and businesses in recent years have thrown people into leadership roles before they’re ready. In the next normal, growing demands and new positions will accelerate career tracks further, and only a resilient company can readily adapt and flourish through change. The secret to building well-rounded and effective leaders? Instilling emotional intelligence in your management and paying attention to employee experience.

Being Attentive to Employee Experience

Employee experience is a holistic term that describes an employee’s observations, sentiments, and interactions at work throughout their entire time at a company. We’ve all dealt with the trouble and anxiety from the global pandemic. For employees who’ve had to work during rocky times, their employee experience might have been compromised.  

96% of HR and hiring professionals reveal that employee experience is becoming more important, and rightfully so: employee experience impacts all facets of your organization from work culture to productivity. Not only does improving employee experience help attract and retain talented workers, but it also creates happy and engaged workers who are able to efficiently work and help deliver bottom line results. 

Being Attentive to Employee Experience

“Employee experience is about doing things with and for your employees, not to them.” Mark Levy, Former Head of Employee Experience at Airbnb and Allbirds. 

Continuing into the future, companies must build resilience in order to adapt to what matters to their employees. Improving employee experience may involve working on basic operations, such as simplifying administrative processes, but it may also involve fixing deep rooted cultural transformations, such as implementing effective management strategies. Specifically, organizations can integrate coaching skills in leadership to empower their teams and enhance their effectiveness and success. Not only does a coaching approach prevent a culture of dependency on leaders, but it upskills workers and pushes them out of their comfort zone. Employees will find proactive solutions on their own without being given the answer. By preparing your company to be resilient in whichever area your employees care about most, such as integrating coaching culture, you can swiftly take action and make meaningful progress on improving employee experience. 

The Time to Prepare for the Next Normal is Now

If we’ve learned anything from the pandemic, it’s that we need to stay on our toes and be ready to respond to anything the world throws at us. How can companies prepare themselves for the next normal? To help answer this question, we’ve constructed a survival guide on How to Build a Resilient Team Post Pandemic, to ensure your company is ready to tackle the ensuing circumstances. 

Resilience looks different for each company and individual and may change over time in context with evolving systems and environments. For example, some leaders may excel at engaging their company during difficult conditions but are weak in leading under pressure. In order to develop the characteristics today to generate resilient patterns that will take you into the next normal, check out our workshop on Improving Emotional Resilience to learn how to lead under pressure, recover quickly from setbacks, and enhance your mental toughness and emotional grit.

To learn more about emotional resilience and how it impacts your organization, sign up for our biweekly newsletter here, where you will receive our latest updates, an inventory of resources, and much more!

If you need help building a resilient future, book a call with us here; we’d love to listen and provide support in any way we can. 

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How to Build a Resilient Team Post-Pandemic

How to Build a Resilient Team Post-Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified people’s level of stress and anxiety in many different ways. Some people are struggling with the worry surrounding the vaccine. Others are grappling with the feeling of loneliness. Many are languishing in the fear of the unknown of what the world is going to look like post-pandemic. 

Although COVID-19 will eventually be under control, the new normal is on its way with many new challenges that will be thrown at organizations. With hybrid work environments, new rules of engagement at work, and a competitive job market that will shrink the digital divide, leaders are feeling the pressure to start building a resilient team to survive in this new, daunting world of work.  Building resilience is a skill that can be taught, and it’s never too late to start.

How to Build a Resilient Team Post Pandemic

In times of extreme stress and uncertainty, the answer to help us adapt when faced with setbacks is emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is the ability to use the information provided by emotions to act appropriately in the face of daily challenges. In short, it can help people think clearly and solve problems under pressure. 

Before jumping into the fear behind change, leaders need to take a moment to pause and ask their teams about their feelings and what is triggering those emotions. Once the emotion is named, organizations can make strategic and conscious choices on how to move forward into the new normal. 

Each individual stress capacity is going to be different, and it is important for leaders to acknowledge that everyone needs to be supported in a different way. Supporting a team with a variety of stress-coping best practices allows them to handle whatever life is throwing at them, whether that be in life or the office. There is not a one-size-fits-all model in becoming emotionally resilient and mentally tough, but when leaders genuinely care about their team and create a safe space where resilience can grow, organizations will become more agile and competitive.

Identify

This is the first step of building a resilient team. First, you must identify the triggers impacting your team’s emotional wellbeing and ability to tolerate stress and uncertainty. This can be done through stress resilience training with a team or individual meeting, where each member shares their triggers and their feelings towards stress and uncertainty. Leaders need to recognize that each team member will have different tolerance levels surrounding change; it is crucial that leaders emphasize that there is no average industry threshold of how much change an individual can handle. By acknowledging everyone’s differences, a step towards a supportive and transparent team culture is created. 

Discover

After you identify your triggers and feelings towards uncertainty, it’s time to create an action plan with your team. Discover some steps that will help mitigate your negative thought patterns and increase your optimism. The steps can be as simple as implementing a buddy system where each pair will share their thoughts with each other, individually recording their thoughts in a journal to express how they truly feel. Find a process that works the best with your team! 

Explore

After the action plan has been created, it’s time to put it to the test. Try executing the steps laid out in your plan, and be open to exploring new tools and habits that support effective stress management. For example, while one of your team members is really enjoying the buddy system method, another team member is not as open to voicing their emotions out loud. Find a balance – perhaps they prefer writing out their thoughts instead. Encourage your team to provide honest feedback about the action plan they created; after all, the plan is to help your team become more resilient. If the original plan is not working out, it’s time to change it up.

Develop

The last step of building a resilient team is to ensure your team members are taking care of themselves. As everyone has a different threshold for change, it’s crucial for your team members to recharge. Emphasize the importance of developing self-care routines and behaviours that will enhance your resiliency and mental toughness.  Taking care of their body, mind, emotions, and energy is critical to stay resistant to stress and hardships.

Why is enhancing your emotional resilience important? 

During change and uncertainty, emotional resilience is an organization’s ticket to survival. Chances are if a team is struggling to be resilient, so is the bottom-line. When the expectation of an organization is to take change head-on with a growth mindset, teams are able to adapt and “roll with the punches” of the new normal, which fosters a culture of innovation; people are willing to learn and grow with the organization as it changes. Emotional resilience builds people to bounce back from changes and surprises, overcome whatever life throws at them and conquer problems more easily than others. 

Do you have an emotionally resilient and mentally tough team? If not, how will that impact your organizational culture, competitive advantage, and bottom-line? 

The good news is resilience can be built with effort, patience, and practice. Resilient teams take challenges on and want to learn from their mistakes. When people see the good in every situation, and use positive thinking to get through crises, they see set-backs as short term.

Building emotional resilience will save teams as they navigate through the new waters of a post-pandemic life, so organization’s can grow with ease, confidence, and optimism. Organizations need to help their employees build this crucial skill to overcome the many challenges that will inevitably lie ahead.

Are you interested in learning more about the impact of an emotionally resilient team? Check out our workshop on Improving Emotional Resilience for tips on resilience training, to learn how to push through adversity, and work under pressure with your team in times of change.   

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Bridging the Gap Using Emotional Intelligence

Bridging the Gap Using Emotional Intelligence

Everyone is facing similar challenges that 2020 has brought on, but they are all handling it differently. Each generation is in a different emotional position, and leaders need to acknowledge each individual struggle equally. However, despite the generational gap in handling obstacles, it is possible to all come together over a commonality: everyone wants to feel cared about. 

By bridging these gaps in the workplace through emotional expression, connection, and awareness, people will feel more cared for and more inclined to offer a helping hand to their peers, no matter their generation. Organizations need to take advantage of all their peoples’ strengths and weaknesses and come together as a team to leverage each other’s talents with the new direction the workforce is headed in.

Bridging the Gap with Emotional Intelligence

 

The main generations we see in today’s workplace are Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and now Generation Z. This eclectic generational mix in the workforce will undeniably lead to conflicts and misunderstandings. A one-size-fits-all culture is one of the past, and organizations need to learn to take into account the different personalities, needs, skills, and challenges each individual can face, while delivering leadership in the same manner to everyone – respectfully. 

Each generation typically has their own working style. In general, Baby Boomers are often considered the workaholic generation, Generation Xers want flexibility and autonomy, Millennials want to make an impact and have a purpose, and Gen Zers prefer self-directed and independent learning. Despite these different work expectations, all employees have three core human needs: to survive, belong, and become. Just like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, once people surpass the need for food and water, they are looking to be accepted for who they are, and succeed at becoming their best selves. 

Emotionally intelligent leaders make sure their people aren’t worried about the food and water needs, and take the money worries off the table. When you pay an employee what they think they are worth, they will rise to that. They focus on contributing to something greater than themselves. Emotionally intelligent leaders create a sense of community and connection for their staff. They appreciate their efforts and talents, and provide them work that fulfills them and helps them realize their full potential.

Bringing Strengths to the Table

 

Leveraging a team’s strengths is essential in bridging the gap between the generations, especially amidst a world-wide shift in the workforce. With the new challenges 2020 has brought on, some generations are more resilient to change than others. Emotional Resiliency indicates how much hardship you can deal with without experiencing stress. In other words, people with high “emotional resilience” are better able to roll with the punches and lead happy healthy lives despite the inevitable hardships and challenges they may be facing.

Generation Z is now entering the workforce, and are facing a lot of instability and uncertainty head-on. With Gen Zer’s need for stability, they are most likely not managing the stressors that come with the current work environment. However, Gen Xers and Baby Boomers have experienced many booms and busts of the economy and value optimism and rebellion in times of despair. In fact, a University of British Columbia study found older generations to be less stressed and threatened by the pandemic and experienced better emotional well-being than other generations. Instead of leaving Generation Z in the dust, this provides a teaching opportunity for the older generation to step up to the plate and support Gen Zers in developing a sense of grit and resilience. 

Although younger generations may not be as strong in stress management, they make up for it in their tech-savviness and entrepreneurial spirit. Older generations can learn from Gen Zers and their tech knowledge, reaching out for support during this huge shift to remote work. Gen Zers also prefer independent learning, so the shift to a virtual environment has given them the opportunity to work in a self-directed manner. However, Baby-Boomers prefer face to face collaboration and are missing social interaction. If both generations can work together to create a virtual work environment that allows for self-directed work, an engaging and collaborative face-to-face experience, there will be less resentment between the communication preferences.

Here are some tips on how to bridge the gap and leverage strengths within different generations:

1. Mentor Opportunities

 

Pairing up younger workers with more seasoned employees in a mentoring format could form a mutually beneficial relationship. Younger workers could share their knowledge of technology and the different opportunities for collaboration in a remote work environment. Whereas, more experienced employees could share their knowledge on stress management, and how they are navigating through all the new challenges the pandemic has brought into the workplace. By connecting different generations, it increases cooperation and leverages the different skill sets to solve problems quickly and effectively.

2. Conflict Management

 

Leaders need to create a process for conflict management and address it immediately. With the large age gaps within workplaces, there are bound to be misunderstandings. It is important to address conflict head-on and act as a mediator, letting each employee voice their side of the story. It is important to acknowledge both sides and come up with a strategy to leverage both generational perspectives and avoid the recurrence of the same issue.

3. Hire Positive Workers

Leaders can train any skill to new hires, but it is near impossible to change their negative attitude. It is important that leaders in charge of the hiring process, like HR departments, identify and profile the behavior of a positive worker, which can be done through EQ Assessments. Recruiting positive workers will bring a level of energy to the team to increase productivity and optimism into the culture – which is needed now more than ever!

Focus on What Matters

 

Accommodating the needs of multiple generations can pose a difficult task, so it is helpful for leaders to focus on what is constant in the workplace. Core values can act as an anchor amidst a storm. Make sure there is a reason people have chosen to become a part of the team and culture, generations aside. 

Focus on the positive commonalities of the workplace culture prior to the global pandemic, and otherworldly divides. If the team was doing weekly lunches together, then bring that to the table virtually. If the organization values connection, collaboration, and communication, then leaders need to find a way to continuously support these values despite the changing conditions. 

A team comes together to achieve a common goal, despite their differences. It is important to emulate the same culture throughout all generations, to bring them on the same page beyond their personality differences. When a team is working together on a common goal and has fostered a culture of support, care, and empathy, they will naturally leverage each other’s strengths and come together in the end.

To learn more about how to bridge the gap between generations, check out our Using EI to Lead Multigenerational Workers Keynote or our Leading a Multigenerational Workforce Workshop. Look out for our next blog on managing the future workforce – Hiring for the Future Using Emotional Intelligence!

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Embracing Change with Emotional Intelligence

Embracing Change with Emotional Intelligence

Change is intimidating, but nothing good ever comes easy. Experienced leaders translate change into a possibility they should embrace! Organizations need to reverse the view that change is an obstacle to overcome, rather than an opportunity to improve and do better. Take reorganizations or mergers, for example. Organizational changes can create new positions, divisions or departments, or a chance to create a new job title. 

The mindset of change needs to alter. Becoming more aware of the communication, relationships, and emotions will bring trust and clarity to the organization. Not only will employees feel more connected, appreciated and fulfilled, but teams will excel in engagement, productivity, and innovation. Leaders are too focused on the negative impact of change; they miss out on the rewards of embracing change and utilizing their emotional intelligence to get there.

Embracing Change with Emotional Intelligence

 

By embracing change with emotional intelligence, your employees will be more positive, present and productive. Organizations that manage change with a positive mindset are finding new ways to work and interact with each other to adapt to the “new normal” that is 2020. When people embrace change, they stop pointing fingers, the stress uplifts, and employees have more time to spend on work than worrying about what will happen. 

The big question everyone is wondering: How are leaders lifting the stress of uncertainty? It comes from removing blame and replacing it with acceptance and patience as everyone adjusts to the change at a different pace. Accepting change comes from a place of understanding and empathy for people’s various positions. Once leaders open up communication within the organization and take the time for genuine, honest conversations from the top-down, employees will feel more comfortable and committed to getting through the changing conditions.

As Brene Brown says, “realize that everyone is doing their best.” If leaders can learn to tune into their emotions and manage change with the mindset, everyone is genuinely trying to do the best they can, the stress of change lifts. If a leader is continually blaming departments for their profit losses or nagging on employee’s productivity, the negativity will spread top-down, resulting in decreased productivity. People cannot separate their workplace feelings from what is happening in the world. Leaders need to accept, appreciate and spread a positive message of change.

Boosting Productivity

 

Right now, organizations are facing exponential drops in productivity. Often, organizations get caught up in the numbers and forget there is a valid reason behind the decrease in motivation. Change is not easy for employees, primarily when the change affects their work and personal lives. Leaders of organizations need to realize the importance of embracing change in their workspaces.  Organizations that are already focusing on the importance of culture and communication come out of change more resilient. 

How organizations are engaging with their teams is a large part of their overall productivity. In How to Engage Your Virtual Workforce Using Emotional Intelligence, it outlines the different tactics leaders must take to lead effectively, and it is the same with change management. The best way to engage with your team to alleviate their fear of change is to communicate with them. With the change in the workplace, leaders need to find new ways to engage and collaborate with their employees. When employees feel heard and supported in their work, they will spend less time stressing about their job’s uncertainty and get more work done.

Below are three ways emotional intelligence can increase productivity in the workplace during change.

 

1. Help Others

 

Help others get through this change. You are not the only one feeling the pressure of change in the workplace. Offer your support through open communication. In You Can Count on Change, it focuses on communication to bring people comfort. Everyone handles change differently, so a one-size-fits-all solution will not fly. Leaders need to stimulate conversation between their employees and offer resources to help when your own hands are full. It takes a village to help create a culture of embracing change!

2. Maintain Relationships

 

During a significant change, it is crucial to open up your empathy circle. Collaboration and “water-cooler” talk are that of the past. Instead, leaders need to find new ways to engage their employees. Engaging employees stems from a supportive conversation, communication outlets like Slack, and allowing casual conversation. Building relationships helps build trust in the organization, making it easier to get down to work when you have people relying on you. 

3. Active Coping

 

Avoid escape coping and acknowledge the changes happening. Problems that are put under the rug develop a deep level of distrust and uncertainty within the organization. Active coping allows organizations to take on the problem head-on and keep employees in the action plan. When employees know their role in the change, they are more inclined to offer help, work harder, and take on more responsibility.

Embrace Change from the Top-Down

 

Leaders need to recognize that their employees may be in the same storm, but they are all in different boats. In Leading Change in the Workplace, it emphasizes the importance of communicating the vision for buy-in. For leaders to breed a culture that embraces change from the top-down, they need to ensure people understand the changes to come. Internalizing the vision helps employees embrace change more effectively and also connects them to the process. 

Embracing change is not an overnight task. Organizations should not be saving their emotional intelligence tactics when change or uncertainty strikes, but rather embedding it into their culture. Emotional intelligence can better help organizations manage stress, communicate compassionately, and build more productive workplaces even in the storm of change. Change is always around the corner; if organizations do not embrace it, that may have a rude awakening.

To learn more about embracing change with emotional intelligence or leading during these changing times, check out our Leading Through Change workshop. For more, keep up with our latest blog on effective change management – You Can Count on Change!

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How to Lead Through Change with Emotional Intelligence

How to Lead Through Change with Emotional Intelligence

Never has it been more important to engage with your staff in ways that work for them. In these times of uncertainty and change, Emotional Intelligence – the ability to connect with people on an emotional level – is crucial to maintaining strong and resilient teams. 

With all of the economic hardships facing the world, collaboration challenges working in remote teams, not to mention increased worker worries and anxieties, organizations are forced to lead differently through these unprecedented times.  Strong leaders realize the impact emotions have on making decisions, communicating effectively with others, and coping with stress and unfamiliar situations.

Even before COVID-19, the World Economic Forum had ranked Emotional Intelligence as one of the top ten skills required to succeed.  The Future of Jobs Report showed that Emotional intelligence, leadership and social influence, and service orientation are also set to see a particular increase in demand by 2022 relative to today’s current prominence.  

Now, months into the new normal, EI has become the top skill required to succeed post-pandemic. The companies who survive will be those who understand the importance of emotional intelligence and recruit and develop teams who excel at using this crucial skill in their work.

In fact, when tested alongside 33 other workplace skills, emotional intelligence was the strongest predictor of performance, explaining 58% of success in all types of jobs. Therefore, investing in emotional intelligence training in the workplace will improve employee morale, emotional well-being, as well as productivity.

Check out our newest video to learn how to use Emotional Intelligence to lead your team through change effectively!

 

Video Transcription

 

Today’s leaders need a completely new skillset.

You are managing the most complex workforce in history. It’s made up of people from multiple generations, across different ethnicities, religions, genders, sexual orientations and cultural backgrounds.

The work environment has also drastically shifted, thanks to a combination of technology and the aftermath of COVID 19. We no longer have to be in the same country as our colleagues, never mind the same office! And today’s employees are less willing to spend their lives commuting to crowded offices and are demanding options for remote work and virtual teams.

This all makes your job of managing even more difficult.   Is your organization struggling with all of these changes?

The truth is that the way you were previously taught to manage employees doesn’t work in this modern world.

Tuning into emotions is the key to effectively managing today’s multigenerational, diverse and virtual workforce. Emotional Intelligence is the leadership superpower today’s managers need to boost productivity and employee engagement. 

Let’s face it; people are complicated. And our ever-changing workplaces make leading even more challenging. But one thing hasn’t changed. 

Every person, no matter their role, age, or background, wants three very important things in their workplace.

CONNECTION.

APPRECIATION.

and FULFILLMENT.

When people feel connected to their team, appreciated for their efforts, and fulfilled in their job, it improves how they feel and perform at work. 

Research has shown that Emotional Intelligence is the critical skill exceptional managers use to get the best results from their teams. Try this simple exercise: 

  • Ask one person on your team, “How do you want to be recognized for a job well done? “ 
  • Then, listen attentively to their responses 
  • At least twice over the next week, act on the feedback and show appreciation to them in the way they suggested. 
  • Notice what happens.

At EI Experience, we help you build a productive, profitable organization with happy, engaged employees that make a difference in the world. We teach you how to lead with emotional intelligence so that you naturally improve your communications, strengthen your relationships, make better decisions and cope with stress more effectively, building your employees’ confidence along the way. 

Effortlessly watch personality conflicts melt away and position your employees to work together to take on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. 

Emotional intelligence is quite simply, the magic ingredient for connecting authentically, communicating effectively and thriving collectively. Book a call or email us to find out how.

For more blogs on leading through change, check out our blogs How to Embrace Change with Emotional Intelligence, and Leading Effective Virtual Meetings.

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