As with so many areas of life, the global COVID-19 pandemic and its myriad of related impacts has, over the past 18 or so months, made managers, leaders and owners of businesses and organisations of all sizes re-think their structures, strategies and methods.
The workplace landscape in 2021 is clearly quite different from the ‘normality’ of 2019 and before, and it is not an original observation that many staff and teams in all kinds of work environments are suffering from a lack of focus, motivation and low energy. Of course, we all need to keep very much in mind that during the same time-period, many people have died and many more have become ill, some with potentially long-term health implications. So, in the middle of this overwhelming experience, is there anything that leaders of organisations can actually do?
One thing we can do is make the best choices. Whilst we cannot always have what we would ideally want, we should ensure that we make the best choices available within the constraints of our own workplace environments.
One choice that I personally have made is to take pro-active and structured steps to increase both my own and my team’s energy.
To this end, I have found that reflecting on and utilising the approach advocated in the book ‘The Strengths Based Organisation’ is a great help in focussing on and nurturing my team’s strengths here at Xytal.
Co-authored by Emily Hutchinson and Caroline Brown of Apply Psychology, I’m using their book very much as my ‘vade mecum’. For me, it provides incredibly useful insights into ‘what to do’ text - or more properly, ‘where to start’ – with a focus on experimenting with small changes that can often result in significant outcomes. The authors also identify that whilst many organisations may claim to take a specific approach to nurturing individual and team strengths, the reality is often quite different.
In ‘The Strengths Based Organisation’, the authors approach is nuanced and powerful without being unnecessarily over-complex. For me, I will start by asking my team, both individually and implicitly, “what, in this most difficult period, has energised you?” I am fully expecting my assumptions to be proved wrong, which is of course precisely why I shall do it.
Dr Richard More
Managing Director, Xytal.