In today’s workplace, managing stress is #1

The link between stress, emotional intelligence, + highly productive teams in tech organizations

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, now more than ever, workplace stress in America has become a serious threat to workers’ overall wellbeing and health, ultimately threatening and weakening organizations. But what exactly counts as work stress? It’s not the challenges that energize you psychologically and physically and that motivate you to learn and problem solve (“good stress”). It is when job requirements fail to match the capabilities, resources, or needs of the employee, causing negative and often harmful physical and emotional responses (“bad stress”).

With job stress becoming an increasing problem, researchers have conducted numerous surveys and studies to find out how many employees are affected and what type of mental and physical health problems they are experiencing as a result. Gallup’s latest State of the Global Workplace report shows that in 2021, stress among the world’s workforce reached an all time high, with 44% of employees experiencing stress a lot of the previous day. In the U.S. and Canada, that number is higher with 50% of employees experiencing daily stress that can be categorized as “bad stress.” 

So how do you, as a CHRO, reduce workplace stress? 

On the front lines of tech stress

As technology progresses, we are pushed further into an online world. As a result, there are more and more security issues with hackers trying to breach and disrupt companies and organizations in this online space; at ORCA HR, we work with many tech companies, and see stress in the cybersecurity sector as a particularly acute scenario. 

One concern of a past client from a cybersecurity organization was how these security breaches were impacting the workers who had to prevent or fix these issues, especially since these breaches caused severely negative PR. 

According to a report from IBM, the majority of cybersecurity incident responders think the rise of ransomware has exacerbated the stress and psychological demands—with 67% of cybersecurity incident responders said they experience stress and anxiety in their daily lives as a result of responding to an incident.

To help this company, we created a stress management workshop that helped workers identify, acknowledge, and control their stress, which was becoming pervasive even when there wasn’t an active breach.

Discovering your workplace stressors

One tool that we like using to assess stress is the TTI SI Stress Quotient Assessment tool. This is a diagnostics tool that focuses on workplace culture and helps to determine and measure one’s stressors. It does so by analyzing stress in 7 different dimensions to help pinpoint which areas your team might be struggling in.

The seven dimensions include: 

  1. Workplace Demands
  2. Effort and Reward Balance
  3. Control
  4. Organizational Change
  5. Management Issues
  6. Social Support
  7. Job Security

Each of these categories have their own set of characteristics and responses which can affect performance on an individual or team-wide level.

Understanding where stress resides within the seven dimensions of the workplace

  • Workplace Demands 
      • Stress resulting from excessive demand happens when workloads become overwhelming or skills or talents don’t match the position.  
      • Reflect: Is my job even designed well enough in terms of what I’m expected to do?
  • Effort and Reward Balance
      • When high levels of output and effort are met with minimal rewards – whether that be compensation, a promotion or simple recognition for a job well done – an individual’s stress can skyrocket. Without an effort/reward balance, an employee can feel disconnected, unmotivated and even angry.
      • Reflect: Is my effort and the reward I receive in balance?
  • Control
      • Feeling powerless is a universal cause of job stress. Lack of control comes from high responsibility paired with low authority, not being heard, not being involved and others not understanding your work.
      • Reflect: Do I have autonomy in my role?
  • Organizational Change
      • Changes within the organization– from management restructuring to new policies and procedures – impact individuals differently. For some, it brings apprehension, insecurity and confusion – all which can raise stress levels when changes are not properly communicated or understood.
      • Reflect: How much organizational change is causing stress?
  • Management Issues
      • Reasonable directives from your boss should be expected. It’s when he or she creates enormous pressure or challenges, to the point of it hindering your workload, that cause stress to increase.
      • Reflect: Is your manager equipped to handle the increasing scale of the work?
  • Social Support
      • An unsupportive social environment can cause workplace stress. Managers who don’t provide clear and consistent information and co-workers who fail to assist one another leaves employees feeling unengaged and unproductive.
      • Reflect: Am I receiving support from others around me?
  • Job Security
    • Fearing for your job is extremely stressful. However, stress can also be caused by lack of advancement, being promoted too slowly or being promoted too quickly to be successful in the job.
    • Reflect: Do I feel secure about my job?

When you’re not aware of certain things, they are going to control you

Workplace stress is something that can have a large negative impact on productivity and employee flourishing if left unchecked. Through the use of the TTI SI Stress Assessment, we are able to analyze stress from many different viewpoints; not just individual stress but also organizational stress. If you can look at the whole system people work in and break it down into types of stress, then you can find the particular stress that needs to be addressed. 

Once we are able to pinpoint and defuse the stressors, we are able to begin making progress to reduce their control and impact on performance. 

Is your team (or even your whole organization) struggling with stress? 

Take a complementary stress assessment and 30 minute consultation. Email experts@orcahrsolutions.com to request yours. 



Test Assumptions in TRUST

Why assumptions limit growth for both you and your company

To have workplace success, implementing trust in your team and testing assumptions is crucial. But what does that look like? It is working with and trusting your team in finding the best way to work relationally—efficiently and effectively—while also continually reassessing and making improvements as needed. 

Regulating and understanding TRUST

Creating trust in an organization can be as simple as TRUST

Transparency

Relationship

Understanding

Shared Success

Test Assumptions 

When we use this model as a roadmap, we can be aware of our mindset, intentions and impact. This puts us in our prefrontal cortex where we’re best suited to make the decisions and connections that move our companies forward. 

Assumptions can hold back innovation

Assumptions are a natural component of workplace interactions. But what is an assumption? An assumption is a thought or a hunch based on our past experiences and our formed biases.

Here are some examples of common workplace assumptions:

  1. “This is the way it’s always been done, so why change it?”
  2. “Management doesn’t understand!”
  3. “Nobody ever listens, so why speak up?”
  4. “If someone has an issue, they will speak up, so I don’t have to ask their thoughts.”

If not constantly and consistently challenged, these types of assumptions can affect decision-making and stifle growth, not only on a personal level, but also on an organizational level. 

Bridge the gap between Assumption and Reality

Part of steadily improving is to test our own assumptions as well as the assumptions of those around us. The goal of these tests is to figure out and define what are the real roadblocks and what can be overcome with change.

Asking questions is one way to gain insight on which hypotheses are limiting progress. An effective analysis of Scenario #1 listed above might involve the following questions:

  • “Could this assumption be incorrect? Maybe there hasn’t been a better alternative suggested yet.”
  • “Has the environment changed? What resources do you have available now?”
  • “How has the situation changed? Are there new requirements that make this suggestion more relevant today?”

After acknowledging our assumptions, take action to implement change

At this point, you have identified some of the beliefs and expectations that might be holding you and your team back. Now is the time to push forward and overcome our limitations. 

Work to answer these questions in order to succeed:

  • “How are these assumptions limiting us?”
  • “What should we do differently going forward? Identify two or three commitments to action.”
  • “How will we hold ourselves accountable to these commitments?”
  • “What can we do to continue to challenge future assumptions?”

With Test Assumptions concluding our Organizational Trust series, look out for more tips on building workplace trust by signing up for our newsletter. 

For additional information and to schedule time with one of our experts, email us at experts@orcahrsolutions.com

Shared Success in TRUST

Could quiet quitting be a symptom of low trust?

Each year, many companies set out to accomplish more ambitious goals than the year prior. With these raised expectations, employees are expected to work harder and achieve more. Leaders often don’t do enough to share success and celebrate achievements, despite company emphasis on the importance of meeting or exceeding goals.

You may have heard stories about “quiet quitting” circulating around social media lately, and for good reason. Are employees motivated to put in more of their energy, passion and effort into their career, or just showing up for the task at hand? 

Quiet quitting is less about employee’s willingness to work more creatively and more about leadership’s ability to build a relationship built on trust, so the team isn’t just counting down the minutes until they can log off for the day. 

Moving from transactional to transformational leadership

Can you recall a time in your career when you had a leader who made you feel undervalued or unappreciated? Perhaps you felt like the bare minimum was all you had to give, based on your manager’s behavior. Isn’t this a transactional relationship, where you check in and check out?

Then there are inspiring mentors and leaders motivating you to be your best self—you want to show up for that energy, and want to do everything you can to accomplish the goals and objectives. Isn’t this a transformational relationship, where many positive outcomes are possible? 

A big difference between these two scenarios, which happen to many of us as we encounter different work environments and situations, is the ability to share success within and across an organization. 

Regulating and understanding TRUST

Creating trust in an organization can be as simple as TRUST

Transparency

Relationship

Understanding

Shared Success

Test Assumptions 

When we use this model as a roadmap, we can be aware of our mindset, intentions and impact. This puts us in our prefrontal cortex where we’re best suited to make the decisions and connections that move our companies forward. 

Sharing success creates a more positive environment

When leaders share success between teams and individuals, whether it comes from completing a project, meeting or exceeding financial goals, or gaining new clients, we have a higher sense of self-worth. We also feel more connected to and in tune with the organization, including having more trust in it. 

As an employee, how does it feel if success is not shared, credit not given, and accomplishments go unrecognized? 

Tips to share success with employees:

  • Reflect on and acknowledge the work. It doesn’t have to be an extensive breakdown but can be something like: “because of the work that went into x,y,z tasks, we were able to successfully achieve x result.” 
  • Give credit where credit is due. Recognizing hard work and acknowledging the employees who helped in the process gives employees validation and encouragement. 
  • Celebrate! Reward employees by taking their minds off of work. A team lunch, extra break time, or a fun workshop/ activity are great ways to build relationships and show employee appreciation. 

Stay tuned for the next and final article in our Organizational Trust series, where we’ll dive deep into Test Assumptions. For more information and to schedule time with one of our experts, email us at experts@orcahrsolutions.com

Understanding in TRUST

How listening to understand moves colleagues from transactional to transformational relationships

Trust in organizations, institutions, and leaders is at an all-time low in the United States. When people lose their trust, it’s nearly impossible to get ahead as an organization; additionally, with job cuts in the tech sector, that can mean less people in your organization. 

Making sure the people you do have in your organization have a high level of trust with one another and the shared mission is crucial. 

Regulating and understanding TRUST

Creating trust in an organization can be as simple as TRUST

Transparency

Relationship

Understanding

Shared Success

Test Assumptions 

When we use this model as a roadmap, we can be aware of our mindset, intentions and impact. This puts us in our prefrontal cortex where we’re best suited to make the decisions and connections that move our companies forward. 

Understanding leads the way

Human beings thrive on connection and affirmation. We wither in the face of criticism and judgment. 

Listening to understand and connect is more than just listening to confirm what you know; it’s truly about focusing on the other person without judgment, and without the need to confirm or reject what is being said in order to be right. 

Dave Ulrich shares statements that help turn truth into trust. Depending on your leadership role and style, these include statements like: 

  • How well do I understand your point of view? 
  • Here’s what I propose given my values and goals. What would you suggest? 
  • I don’t know; can we find out together? 
  • What information do you have that may help us make a better decision?
  • What is happening in your life that is causing stress? Let’s discuss so I can support you. 

Full attention leads to understanding

Listening without judgment involves paying full attention to the person who is speaking, while consciously setting aside the tendency to judge them. Listening to understand and connect is an important component of creating a conversational space that creates deeper understanding and engagement rather than fear and avoidance. 

Ask yourself: what is their perspective?

When you listen, it’s about THEM, not YOU. What is their perspective? Their fear? The results they want? Listening is our gateway to connection that leads to trust. 

You’ll notice the word “listen” contains the same letters as the word “silent.” When we are truly listening, we are not speaking at the same moment, internally or externally. We turn off our mind chatter. 

Consider: 

  • How does your connection change when you truly focus on the other person without judging or listening for points to counter or reject? 
  • How does the listener’s reaction to you change as a result? 
  • How do you feel when someone deeply listens to you? 
  • What do we do when we listen to connect?
    • Notice the eyes: are they open or closed? 
    • Notice the whole person: is there a shift in their face? 

Practice listening to understand in the next conversation you have in your organization. You’ll be surprised how far a simple intention can go. 

Stay tuned for the next in our Organizational Trust series, where we’ll dive deep into Shared Success. For more information and to schedule time with one of our experts, email us at experts@orcahrsolutions.com

Relationship in TRUST

How companies promoting workplace relationship benefit from happier employees

Trust plays a part in every conversation you have throughout the day. While conversing with someone, your conscious mind might not be thinking whether you trust them or their provided information. Your subconscious mind, however, is constantly analyzing their interactions with yourself and others as well as recalling past experiences and similar interactions in order to gauge their trustworthiness. Therefore, all conversations either build trust or break it down. 

Over the years, workplace collaboration has become increasingly popular and important among employees. A Gartner, Inc. Survey shows that nearly 80% of workers used collaboration tools for work in 2021, which was a 44% increase since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020. 

With increased collaboration within organizations, there is a stronger need to connect with others to build meaningful relationships and therefore trust. 

Regulating and understanding TRUST

Creating trust in an organization can be as simple as TRUST

Transparency

Relationship

Understanding

Shared Success

Test Assumptions 

When we use this model as a roadmap, we can be aware of our mindset, intentions and impact. This puts us in our prefrontal cortex where we’re best suited to make the decisions and connections that move our companies forward. 

With remote or hybrid work, workplace relationships are more important—and difficult to achieve—than ever

Traditionally, full-time workers often spend more of their waking hours alongside co-workers than they do with their spouses and families. In today’s environment with many employees still working remotely either full time or part time due to the pandemic, relationships play a significant role in interactions.

When you are staring at a computer screen all day, it’s easy to forget that on the other end of your emails and chat messages is another human being. Without much of a relationship, it can be hard to assess tone and intentions over these forms of communication. This opens the door for misunderstandings, negative encounters, and ill feelings toward co-workers. Ultimately, it can lessen trust between people.

So, what are some actions you can take to prioritize remote work relationships? Here are a few of our suggestions:

  • Discuss issues over a call. You can really benefit from hearing each other’s voices and tone of voice. 
  • Take it a step further and turn on your cameras during meetings to see expressions and get that face to face value.
  • Schedule non-work related meetings where you can get to know each other better. Try and find an online trivia game or other icebreakers that you and your team can work together on. 

Workplace relationships allow employees to flourish

Whether working remotely or in-person, employees who invest in nourishing their relationships with team members feel more fulfilled and accomplish more. A Connected Commons study, where interviews were conducted with 160 leaders (80 men and 80 women) across 20 organizations, showed that workplace relationships proved useful with different aspects of: producing innovative solutions, executing work efficiently, and thriving at work. 

They found that people who create energy, purpose, and trust within their workplace networks succeed over time at a stunningly high rate. Furthermore, these good relationships brought project opportunities, talented people who sought to work with them, and were able to generate greater innovation and creativity overall. With this information in mind, it is hard to underestimate the power of relationships.

Who can you build a stronger relationship with in your organization? 

Stay tuned for the next in our Organizational Trust series, where we’ll dive deep into Understanding. For more information and to schedule time with one of our experts, email us at experts@orcahrsolutions.com

image of the Pacific Ocean

Transparency in TRUST

image of the Pacific Ocean

Why transparency is the foundation of TRUST in your organization

Trust is a central part of our ability to survive in complex, high-growth environments. When trust is high, teams can overcome just about any obstacle. When trust is low, the ability to get things done in any meaningful way goes out the window. 

As The Great Resignation becomes The Great Reshuffle, organizations need to know their leadership and employees have a high level of trust across the board. There’s still over a million Americans missing from the workforce—and that number hasn’t fallen significantly in months. 

According to Microsoft’s New Future of Work Report, interpersonal trust is key to successful virtual and hybrid teams—not just those in an office. Remote and hybrid teams need to develop methods for establishing and maintaining trust.

What happens when you hire new staff? They’re going to need to trust and trust quickly; so what comes first? Providing a structure for team transparency allows trust to happen and stay the course. 

Regulating and understanding TRUST

Creating trust in an organization can be as simple as TRUST

Transparency

Relationship

Understanding

Shared Success

Test Assumptions 

When we use this model as a roadmap, we can be aware of our mindset, intentions and impact. This puts us in our prefrontal cortex where we’re best suited to make the decisions and connections that move our companies forward.

Transparency matters more than ever

Transparency in an organization really means quelling threats and fears that may arise, from the get-go. 

Transparency also requires the intention of a safe environment. People respect honesty over perfection; by opening communication channels through transparency across the organization, you’ll have teams that are more efficient, creative, and at ease at work. 

Sharing desired outcomes and any threats that may pop up along the way is a good example of transparency at play; for example, software company Atlassian has an all-hands meeting weekly that includes everyone from both their U.S. and teams located in other countries. Letting the team in on bigger goals and potential roadblocks aids in a transparent organization where people feel heard and valued. 

Transparency in conversations leads to transformational discussion

The key in any conversation—whether that’s a one-on-one, face-to-face discussion or email or Teams message—is intention. 

Before speaking, ask yourself: Who am I in this conversation? How am I approaching the other person? 

An intentional conversation with intentional listening: 

  • Creates understanding and moves one from distrust to trust. 
  • Elevates our ability to see and understand when our connections with others are not as strong as they need to be in order to navigate through challenges or achieve goals
  • Knowing this can speed up the time it takes to achieve goals; what would normally take months or years can now happen more rapidly
  • Lays the groundwork for more successful and trusting relationships

Where can you be more transparent in your organization? 

Stay tuned for the next in our Organizational Trust series, where we’ll dive deep into Relationship. 

Building Trust in Your Organization

“Trust is the most precious of the golden threads that connect us with others. Without it, there can be no ‘WE.’ With trust, growth, change, and transformation are possible.”

Judith Glaser

Trust is the foundation for engaging with others. When you build trust, you can truly inspire and empower others. Leaders build trust one conversation at a time. When there is trust in relationships, everything goes smoother and faster with candid and clear communication that gets better results. 

We know this to be true in our own lives, but data backs it up. Gallup research shows that employees who trust their employers experience 74% less stress and 40% less burnout. One third of employees shared they’d stay longer with an organization if leaders kept their promises; furthermore, companies with high trust levels outperform companies with low trust levels by a resounding 186%. 

Where does trust live in an organization?

Have you ever said to a colleague or employee, “Just trust me!” and felt that was sufficient for gaining trust? Of course not. Trust in an organization lives and breathes through the individuals that make up that organization. 

We can create trust, but we have to understand first where it lives with us, as individuals. 

Harnessing conversation neurochemistry

Understanding and utilizing the neurochemistry of conversations enables us to achieve profound transformational results and revolutionizes the way we interact as human beings—whether we’re working with individuals, teams, or entire organizations. 

Humans are wired to connect; but we’re also programmed to distrust first. Distrust lives in the most primitive regions of our brains, which are hardwired to protect us.

diagram of brain neurochemistry during conversations

Heart Brain

  • Enables connection all internal systems and others
  • When we are in sync with our heart brain, we move towards each other as friends; when we don’t sync we move away and feel others are foe

Limbic Brain

  • Stores history of all emotional experiences
  • The limbic brain says, “Where do I fit in?”
  • Reads social context, looks for inclusion and exclusion
  • Move towards or away from each other

Neocortex

  • Hardwired for language, storing info, basic thinking, reasoning and cognitive skills
  • Holds our internal “scripts,” including working memory and stored memory
  • Newer researcher says right brain is change brain and left brain is steady-state brain

Gut Brain

  • Link between digestion, mood and health and the way we think
  • Stress correlated to lack of biodiversity in gut flora
  • Keep track of social cues and allows us to alter behavior accordingly 

Prefrontal Cortex – newest part of the brain

  • Higher level coordination of the whole brain
  • Envision future and create scenarios, step into shoes of others – empathy, mirror neurons, make judgments, live in trust and have integrity
  • Advanced capabilities – judging, dreaming, possibility

Awareness shapes our environment for trust

We need to be more intentional in shaping the environment for trust—this opens up the prefrontal cortex, where we can best make choices without an automatic response. 

Think about our primitive brain states as an uphill climb—everything is primed for survival and is an uphill battle for us to communicate. 

Think about our prefrontal cortex as strolling on a country lane—moving forward is possible in conversation and there is a noticeable flow. 

Awareness of what we’re saying as we’re having conversations and building trust connects us with the most advanced parts of the newest brain, which can even be thought of as the “executive brain.” 

Knowing the brain research and neuroscience principles that underlie the words and actions that build (or erode) trust is the key to increasing a leader’s self-awareness and the ability to engage and inspire others more naturally and logically. 

Trust is a pivotal element in the future of remote work

74% of professionals expect remote work to become standard. This opinion is also shared by 76% of entrepreneurs—and tech organizations specifically will be leading the charge on this new normal. 

To create meaningful work across teams in-office, you need trust; but trust in an organization is more important than ever with remote work. Flexibility in work schedules and work locations are key to retaining talent—but make communication even more important. 

Regulating and understanding TRUST

Creating trust in an organization can be as simple as TRUST

Transparency

Relationship

Understanding

Shared Success

Test Assumptions 

When we use this model as a roadmap, we can be aware of our mindset, intentions and impact. As we know, this puts us in our prefrontal cortex where we’re best suited to make the decisions and connections that move our companies forward. 

Stay tuned for the next in our Organizational Trust series, where we’ll dive deep into Transparency. 

Does your organization need a trust assessment? 

Contact us to learn more. 

 

leader looks into ocean

Increasing ROI through a proven leadership framework 

leader looks into ocean

Making our businesses efficient and effective are a key part of our everyday lives. And so increasing ROI should always be top of mind—but there’s only so many new skills and operations tactics that can help, in the long run. 

Where we see a lot of companies finding success in that gap between where they are today and greater ROI is with their leadership teams; both on an individual and organization level. 

The proven leadership framework of Conscious Leadership can be the gamechanger. 

How the 4A’s of Conscious Leadership impact effectiveness

Awareness 

Awareness is the first of ORCA’s 4 A’s of Conscious Leadership. Why? Because if an organization is aware of the issues that are impacting its overall effectiveness, then they can actually do something about it. 

Like individuals, organizations are often not aware of the things that are having the impact on their effectiveness. By illuminating and bringing awareness to your organization’s effectiveness, it allows you the element of choice. “How do I raise awareness around what my leadership culture and strengths are?” is an important question. 

Calibrate against external benchmarks; how does your organization compare with the best of leadership in other organizations in research-based assessments? The next benchmark to set would be where you are vs. where you could be. Top quartile? Bottom quartile? It gives you a relative place to start with. Assess what our future desired state is based on what we have to execute as an organization? What is the strategy we need to deliver? You can see where the gap is. 

That’s going to have the biggest impact in terms of your competitive advantage because your business cannot be more effective than its sum total of the leadership. 

Acknowledgement 

Once you are aware, which ones will have the most impact? What are we going to take ownership of to move forward? 

What would be most important to focus on that can have the greatest impact? Correlations between variables between leadership competencies and behaviors have the actual greatest impact on effectiveness and therefore ROI. This process can be accomplished when looking at an individual’s growth or an organization’s. 

Action 

What action are you going to take? You can have wonderful assessments and take ownership of the results, but if you do nothing, nothing will change. 

Is there the will to change? For example, if I have a very large gap between where I am today and where I need to be, there’s going to be a lot more work to get there. Be honest with yourself and your organization about if you’re ready to really put the effort into it. 

Adaptation 

If you put an action plan into place, you then have to revisit that and say, “Is this action plan having the desired effect or having effects we didn’t even think it would have?” Look to see if your action plan is having the right effect. 

Similar to design thinking, you can use this phase as a series of experiments. Seeing the impact of the things you’ve implemented allows you further choices: if they are not having the right impact, how do you modify those to have the right impact? 

Much like life, adaptation isn’t a linear thing; as you start taking action on some things, you may become aware of other things having an impact. Continual adaptation will allow you to grow, change, and maximize your ROI. 

Navigating complexity and major change initiatives

As an organization either picks up speed and/or becomes more global and complex, it often goes from trying to put some structure on itself on how it can grow further. Sometimes you have a little bit of chaos between putting that structure in place, so what happens is in order to deal with the complexity, the leaders have to be able to develop themselves to deal with the complexity. 

The complexity isn’t going to go away, but they may have to shift their own internal operating system in order to deal with that complexity. If it’s not developed enough to deal with that complexity it will be challenging for those leaders to scale up. Looking at the internal aspect of leadership and how that impacts the external outcome of leadership competencies is important to increase ROI. 

Skills won’t get you to the next level

You have to know where you are before you know where you need to go—skills won’t be the answer. There’s a lot of time spent on actually looking at putting in a development program without understanding where we are now as an organization and what impact that development program will have. 

Take a holistic approach; if you don’t have awareness or insight, then the actions you may take may not be the right ones or get the desired results. 

Most leadership frameworks only work on the outer game of leadership, which is the direct competencies or skills needed to be a leader. But it’s more than simply building skill. It goes much deeper—it’s also about changing the mindset or internal operating system of the leaders and or the organization.

Conscious leadership is for lasting change

Conscious leadership involves looking at both what we call the ‘internal game’ and ‘outer game’ of leadership, so looking at both the consciousness of those leaders and the competencies of that leadership. Bringing those two things together is what can create lasting change and effectiveness. 

If the internal operating system is out of sync with the complexity that someone is dealing with, you can give them a lot of competencies, but it may not have the desired impact. The individual’s mindset or internal operating system may need to change to deal with that complexity. 

Ready to take the next step in increasing ROI through conscious leadership? Contact us. 

Stories we tell ourselves (and how to change the narrative)

One of the areas that has always interested me in working with leaders is how we get stuck into the stories that we tell ourselves.

When I first started my own business, I remember sitting at home wondering whether I was good enough. It was really strange to be sitting around after sending proposals to people you may know, trying to market your business, and then “waiting for the phone to ring”. When it took longer than I’d hoped, the first thought that would come into my head was, “I’m not good enough! They must not want to work with me.” 

There are many stories we could choose. Are you choosing the same again and again?

There are so many reasons why the” phone may not ring”. Maybe they’re busy. Maybe this offer isn’t a priority for them right now. You begin to realize, when you become aware of these other stories, that the issue may have nothing to do with me—but making about me was my default. It took me some time to work through my own stories – actually it is a continuous journey, however realizing that I can choose other than the one which was “holding me hostage” was a perspective that was  powerful and freeing.

What stories have you chosen that have been holding you hostage?

These stories can be limiting in terms of our development as leaders. An example could be “I’m not good at this” or “this is something I’m not able to do.” These stories start early on in life and are built up around some perception or story that we’ve chosen to tell about ourselves.

Some people may experience this as imposter syndrome where it’s as experienced as “I’m never good enough, no matter what I do. I’ll never be good enough.” I’ve definitely experienced this one myself. Our greatest defense in this case is to be our own strongest critic, for the fear of anyone telling us so.

Do you often find there’s a story that you tell yourself that limits who you can be? As I work with many leaders, I often find that some of them have just one story that they’ve connected themselves to. This one story can drive everything in how they show up as a leader. These stories may have gotten them this far, but might not be serving the next iteration of their leadership journey. I invite you to ask yourself: What are the stories that you identify with and What other stories could you tell? 

Do you hide parts of yourself and cover up your vulnerability to personify a more put-together leader? Sometimes admitting your own vulnerability or needing help can be a story we tell ourselves that gets in the way. If you’re someone who has been very successful in your career and you get to a place where you’re struggling, you may look to the past and say, “I’ve always figured this out on my own before. I don’t need anyone’s help.” This could just be a part of leadership growth; you could be experiencing new challenges that need to be reframed.

Changing the narrative can be uncomfortable

It’s going to feel uncomfortable at first to change any story. You’ve reinforced that story for a long time. That discomfort with change is a very normal emotion—and one that doesn’t need to be pushed away. A key lesson in the Conscious Leadership framework is learning to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. 

As we’ve all experienced, stepping outside of your comfort zone is definitely easier said than done. That’s why awareness is the first step.

Be curious and release judgment

Awareness is the first step of Conscious Leadership for a reason; how can you be an effective leader if you’ve never explored the stories, beliefs, internal assumptions, fears and triggers that impact you each and every day?

It’s easy to fall back into old habits, which is why it’s important to look at why we’re telling this story versus another. We become aware by noticing or being curious first, before making any changes. We want to get out of the judgment here and just observe. What stories are you telling about yourself that are holding you hostage to who you could be versus staying where you are?

Working with an Executive Coach can help change the narrative. Contact us for more support.

Acknowledging change as a CHRO in 2022

It’s human nature to resist change. With every day comes news of something ‘unprecedented,’ and often not in the ways we want to see change happening. As much as this impacts our personal lives, it also—of course—impacts the workplace. 

What’s a CHRO to do as 2022 marches on?

Navigating ever-changing—and stagnant—COVID-19 mitigations

For offices that are choosing to go back to in-person facilities, return-to-work is in full swing. Making sure it’s a positive experience for everyone is a big task on CHROs’ shoulders; not to mention 74% of professionals think remote work will become standard, according to a study from Growmotely. 

Whether your organizations’ workforce is in-person, remote, or hybrid, there’s an important step you may be missing. 

Acknowledgement is the shift CHROs need

The second ‘A’ of the Four A’s of Conscious Leadership is Acknowledgement. Acknowledgement is all about getting comfortable with being uncomfortable—and what have the past few years been but uncomfortable? 

Awareness is the shift from “I don’t know that I don’t know something” to “I know that I don’t know something,” thus creating an opportunity for choice to acknowledge.

By acknowledging changes and frustrations, you can empower your organizations’ leaders to: 

  • Shift from a fixed to growth mindset 
  • Embrace the challenge of learning and change
  • Apply emotional intelligence in everyday situations 

We all know it’s important for leaders to understand how their mindset may impact their perspective of how the team functions. So for CHROs, acknowledging change and navigating with flexibility can create a seismic shift in your organization. 

The top CHROs across the nation are focusing on individual wellness

Considering all we’ve been through in the past two years, it makes sense that HRO World lists supporting individual wellness as a top concern for CHROs. The ongoing pandemic has elevated the role of the CHRO even further—often visibly helping CEOs manage and lead their organizations into the future. 

This makes acknowledgement of present issues, day to day with an eye on the future, even more important.

A holistic approach builds upon acknowledgement

While taking into account individual employee wellness and leadership’s emotional intelligence, you need a holistic approach. 

That’s why we’ve integrated our 4As of Conscious Leadership into our customized solutions for organizations like yours. 

Acknowledging change can be difficult. We’re here to partner with you to create holistic solutions that transform the consciousness and capabilities of leaders for whole-organization success. Contact us today.