How to Boost Morale and Uplift Team Spirit
I talked to numerous working people over the past few weeks, and I am sensing that we are collectively feeling isolated, fatigued, and underappreciated now that we are more than nine months into the coronavirus pandemic. Many of us feel worn out participating in evening zoom meetings, home schooling our children, taking care of elderly family members, or just being alone. For some of us, we may feel that our work and sacrifice has not been sufficiently noticed by our co-workers or awarded by our employers. The cold winter months are here, and the next few months will be difficult. How do we keep our teams united and performing at a high level when so many are distracted or worn out?
While problem-solving, planning, and strategy meetings are essential for organizations, I encourage team and organizational leaders to focus more time and effort into boosting the emotional and physical well-being of their staff as we continue to struggle through the Covid-19 pandemic. Using Neuroscience, I suggest that we focus on restoration and connection to uplift our staff and boost our productivity as we begin the new year.
Restoration is always an important element in an athlete’s training regimen as it is important to rebuild the body after a hard work out. The same is important for people who live and work in stressful situations.
Neuroscience informs us that restoration is important because thinking, problem-solving, fear, worry, and loneliness draws from the sympathetic nervous system in our bodies. Unchecked, overuse of our sympathetic nervous systems will have a negative impact on our bodies which may lead to high blood pressure, immune deficiencies, neural circuit shutdowns in our brain, and hormonal changes in our bodies. The results are anxiety, depression, and reduced functioning skills in our learning and social interactions. We also feel threats and negative emotions more acutely and our physical health will decline when our sympathetic nervous system is overused.
The offset is to nurture our parasympathetic nervous system which is responsible for our body’s rest and digestion. This system restores our bodies to a calm and composed state. To cultivate our parasympathetic nervous system, we must learn to divert from our analytic brains and source other parts of our bodies that allow us to feel compassion, laughter, playfulness, and hope. Activities such as nature walk, board games, or mindfulness practices are wonderful for strengthening our parasympathetic nervous system.
We are social beings, and we need each other for learning, growth, and emotional support. Human connection not only fulfills our basic need for belonging and acceptance, but it also offers profound neurological benefits in our bodies. A calm and supportive presence of one person can physically smooth the somatic state of another.
In fact, social connection is one of the most important factors contributing to organizational success. Unfortunately, many of us have been deprived of our social connections as we work from home and face all the additional life challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Social connection is not typically given its due by organizational leaders during the best of times. It is particularly important now.
Based on neuroscience, team building and morale boosting activities can be very impactful to the productivity and well-being of your organization and staff. We suggest that you primarily focus on restoration and connection as key pillars to your approach. We encourage you to emphasize the following suggestions to optimize the impact of your efforts.
Your staff are busy and fatigued. Do not add to their stress. Use their time effectively. Create a meeting plan incorporating a variety of activities each lasting no longer than seven to ten minutes. Emphasize variety and physical movement. Minimize content and focus on creating physical or emotional experiences. Share a short video. Include one or two breakout sessions. Include some fun and games. Incorporate some meditation and visualization exercises and give time for staff to speak, share their feelings, and participate in these meetings.
Focus on Bringing People to the Present
Staff are typically stuck on what they lost from the past or what they fear in the future. However, we are most creative and powerful when we are present. Get your staff grounded by bringing them into the “now” or “present.” Start your meetings with a “presencing” exercise separating their time in the meeting with their outside work. Many staff will not likely know how to do this. Therefore, introduce them to basic breathing and mindfulness techniques and grow their abilities over time by incorporating these practices as an integral component for all future meetings.
Focus on Space, Not Problems
The goal of these meetings should be focused on helping people get out of their computational minds and become more harmonious with other types of intelligence – feeling, emotions, and inner-wisdom – that exists in other parts of their mind and body. This is counter-cultural in many work environments as “smarts” and “know-how” typically dominate. Introducing people to become more attuned to their five senses – sight, sound, scent, touch, and taste – is the core behind this work. This creates openness within each person to restore, connect, and be more aware of themselves and the environments around them. Problem-solving and strategy discussions should not be included in these meetings.
Create Deep Connection
Establishing trust and safety for people to be their true selves is the facilitator’s most challenging role. Vulnerability and courageous authenticity bring people closer together. Empathetic listening is a leader’s most powerful tool. Deep connection is not only therapeutic, but it also produces a supportive environment for people to take risk, grow, and support each other in a more meaningful and sustainable way.
OrgForce is Ready to Help You Boost Team Morale
Much can be accomplished in a 30-minute or one-hour meeting Zoom meeting if the time is used efficiently. In addition to the short-term benefits or restoring and connecting your staff, you will be introducing them to life-long skills to improve their personal growth, leadership, and quality of life. If done effectively, these meetings are give-backs to staff rewarding them for their hard work and loyalty.
OrgForce is a coaching, leadership development, and organizational change consulting firm and we are pleased to introduce training and morale boosting activities that will enhance your organization’s productivity during this difficult time and beyond. We also offer a variety of services that will prepare your leaders and organization to our increasingly chaotic world. Contact David Miller at (301) 633-1684 or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.