Surviving & Thriving through the Pandemic as a Work Team: Self-Management

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One hour a week isn’t a lot…but as busy leaders managing in a remote context, every hour we spend online in yet another meeting filled with people in tiny boxes on our computer screens needs to feel well worth the effort! Think about all of the meetings you already have scheduled. How much of that time is really spent going “below the surface” and addressing the very real, human needs of the people on your team?  

In our last article on surviving and thriving as work teams through the pandemic, we offered the Four Drivers Self-Care Plan as one way in which we can think through what fuels us and nurtures our resilience as individuals. We also introduced the idea of a weekly team meeting devoted to self-care, where team members could focus on their social-emotional needs and support each other. 

Today we will discuss how we as leaders can unpack our own self-reflections from the Four Drivers and take the time to thoughtfully prepare ourselves to self-manage as we lead a team meeting focused on self-care and our team’s social-emotional needs. 

Self-Reflection: Unpacking Your Four Drivers 

To truly access a deeper conversation that supports personal development and resilience building with the team, leaders must start by looking inward, and thinking through how we want to show upAs a leader, how aware are you of the ways in which you nurture your own resilience? If you haven’t already, take a moment to complete your own self-reflectionAs you review your own four drivers, ask yourself:  

  • What are my go-to drivers 
  • What drivers do I want to explore or lean into more? 
  • What did I learn about myself from this exercise? 
  • What do I want to share with my team about my drivers? 

Now more than ever, this work is foundational for any effective team to function. After all, we are constantly bombarded on social media with endless resources on self-care and wellness, yet, experience tells us that it’s hard to make the time when our personal priorities and our work priorities don’t align. Our attention to self-care is literally contagious to others. That’s why when we take time as leaders not only to say how important self-care and wellness are (during this time especially), but also to meaningfully prioritize and make time for ourselves, we are communicating to our teams that we are not just talking the talk. 

Once you have taken the time to become more self-aware about how you nurture your own resilience, it’s important to plan ahead for your own self-management in facilitating these discussions with your team. 

Self-Management Before the Team Meeting: 

Self-management is the way in which we build strategies to effectively manage our emotions, particularly in challenging situations. Nurturing resilience is an important part of self-management. Before you call a team meeting to kick off your weekly self-care check-intake a moment to self-manage so that you can show up for your team. How will you set the tone for conversations around well-being and resilience? How will you model the way for others by sharing your own self-care reflections? How will you manage yourself and effectively confront your own self-limiting mindsets or negative stories that get in the way of building deeper connections on the team? 

  • Plan ahead for the conversation. What can you say to yourself to ground yourself in this conversation about self-care and not to get caught up in the “to-do list” for the team? How will you convey that self-care for the team is also a priority while acknowledging the other work on everyone’s plate? One way to do this is to name upfront that this meeting will be different—that the focus is devoted to our self-care, and then share some reasons to ground the conversation in why that is essential for your team. We will share more on planning for and introducing the idea for this type of meeting in our next article. 
  • Coach yourself (in the moment)How might you show up as a leader that feels different, or maybe even uncomfortable for you? What do you need to tell yourself in the moment (during the meeting) to stay grounded and focused on the conversation?  

One way to work through any discomfort you may have is to take some deep breaths and focus on the positive impact that this conversation can have on the team’s overall health. Remind yourself why this matters for your team’s long-term sustainability. 

  • Tell a noble story. What do you need to believe about yourself and your teammates in order to effectively engage in these “below the surface” conversations? Take a moment to tell a noble story”—a story that assumes positive intent and connects to the values that motivate you to care--for yourself and for each person on the team. 

In order to make the self-care team meeting effective, leaders must create the conditions for teammates to show up as their entire selves--beyond just a little square on our computer screens. Take the time needed to go “below the surface” during this time especially—your team will thank you! 

Our next post will introduce the plan for the team meeting. We will focus on social awareness and ways to better understand and support each other as a team as we continue to move forward and get started with our weekly self-care meetings. 

One way to self-manage and recharge is through meditation, and there are some great free resources on meditation and mindfulness. Check out Calm, Liberate Meditation, Insight Timer, and Headspace to try it out!