I had an exciting and uplifting series of experiences this week when I did a welfare check with my team.
It’s simple to ask how they are faring, but the response is always a stoic one. The team is reluctant to give feedback on how each person truly feels, and it’s as though it is seen as a weakness.
This time, I shared how I was truly feeling, first. It seemed to be a shock to many that I too have personal challenges and can struggle to cope.
It seemed to be unheard of that a senior leader in the business can feel inadequate at times.
There was no expectation that the audience would respond with their own stories, but they did. Their challenges were authentic. Each of them avoided the oversharing tendency but took the chance to call out that, well, things can be a bit tough for each of them at times.
Even more revealing were the support actions that many of the team provided to their colleagues. Sending care packages from one side of the country to a team member in another State; taking late-night phone calls from those in a dark place; checking in on random people at random times. It’s all been happening behind my back!
Every single person contributed a story of vulnerability.
We’re not here to provide counselling – leave that to the professionals – but we are here to listen.
The workforce has changed, and as a team leader, I need to know that.