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Powering up for 2021

What are we carrying with us?

It is not the most intellectual or strongest of the species that survives, but the species that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself.

  • In 2020, teams went remote by necessity. How do we retain coherence when working apart? With continuous dialogue and communication as the glue, maintaining the cadence of group and individual connections enables you and your organization to thrive.
  • In 2021 we need to learn the power of connecting with people, not just surviving day-to-day firefighting.

ADAPTATION & TECHNOLOGY

We were able to react to a global crisis in record time, so we need to continue adapting to new technology and increase our proficiency in tools we hadn’t even heard of a year ago. Technology has been totally universalized.

BALANCE & EMOTIONAL STABILITY

Remote working acceptance is a big change; we need to cultivate our energy and enthusiasm to bring out our best. Embrace ghosts from the past as you learn. Give gratitude to those who are behind us.

RESILIENCE

Life is constant adaptation, always leaving something behind and taking something forward to the future. The pandemic has made us see the world in a different way — to understand why we need each other, how we need to work together and how teams are important.

What are we leaving behind?

BAD PLANNING

Bad planning and organisation should be left behind. There are many tools to help with this online now. Schedule regular meetings and conversations so that everyone is naturally updated when something goes wrong.

UNACCEPTANCE

Avoid the tendency to yearn for how things used to be and embrace the change. We learn a lot from bad times; leave behind the habit of constant worry about things we cannot control.

ATTITUDE

Laziness and pessimism close off effective communication. Miscommunication, worrying and mental drain will hinder us if we want to excel in what we do.

Propelling Ourselves into 2021

Our highest intention is to equip leaders to facilitate the potential of their teams — not just to heighten bottom line performance, but in order to create perpetual positive impact in how we work, and in the sustained ripple effect of each leader’s living legacy.

The following three vistas illuminate in concert an overarching way of thinking and operating in your daily life that enables you and your teams to thrive: Self as an Instrument, Team as a Collective Entity, and Beyond Trauma.

Each vista represents an area of emotional resilience, a skill that is a foundational leadership competency. The ripple effect of each leader embodying these vistas is optimized decision-making, interpersonal connection, actualized team potential, and the ability to process challenges with wisdom and informed action.

SELF AS INSTRUMENT

Applying your experiences to both diagnose and understand what is happening to and for
others is vital. It has important implications on how we reflect on, prioritise and align on core values. We can use our experience and shared context to understand our co-workers and what is needed in the world. You can successfully create inner shifts that allow you to model the changes you want to see by using reflection. Reflection promotes the ability to delve deeper to hone learnings that move you forward stronger, and to evoke in others their own ability to shift. We have time to make mistakes but not time to sit down and wrestle with those mistakes.

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TEAM AS A COLLECTIVE ENTITY

Today’s leaders can apply emotional intelligence to elicit meaningful outcomes beyond skill, goals and organization. In order to accelerate success in an ecosystem of stakeholders, emotion is the primary enabler of accelerated and heightened performance and outcomes.

Thinking of a team as a collection of individuals is outdated. To achieve higher performing teams, we need to make collective work visible to all. It’s about going beyond recognizing the team effort, it’s about communicating the interrelated contributions that led to the accomplishment. By supporting the norms that facilitate psychological safety, the team can replace unspoken human barriers with constructive dialogue, shared understanding and collective team accomplishment.

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BEYOND TRAUMA

By embracing the ghosts of the past and through shared learning, the team will have the ability to problem-solve new challenges with a broadened perspective. New traumas connect with past traumas, which influences how we make sense of what goes on and how we go forward. 

Ghosts from the past represent the stories people hold inside about the interactions they have had in the past. These stories, which are typically not shared, are the single most powerful source of dysfunction in a team. In-depth work on the team is needed to recover the power of collective intelligence and to move to the next phase. Moving beyond trauma requires acknowledgement of differences in individual experiences — enabled by inclusion and an atmosphere that supports open dialogue.

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Helping yourself to help your team

  • Working on yourself enables you to be effective at the team level. Restore yourself before helping others, and
    encourage team members to restore themselves, too. We need to reinvent the way we interact, align, and prioritize, while acknowledging the issues we have. 
  • A paradigm shift is key. The way we used to do things is no longer useful. Understanding self as part of a whole is critical; become whole yourself so you can make a useful contribution to the team.

Which meaningful outcomes should leaders drive throughout their organizations in 2021?

Each team member must feel part of the team and be focused on the present and the future in a constructive and optimistic way. There should be a focus on the outcome (results) not the output (volume). Independent teams with clear and realistic expectations are ‘shapers of events and not victims of circumstance’.

How do we Translate Change into Business Acceleration

  • The choice is now change or perish. The fear of doing nothing has transcended the risk of doing something different.
  • This year we focus on building emotional capability by examining the beliefs that you have and what held you back before

What is the biggest shift of 2020 for leaders and managers that requires us all to think and act differently in 2021?

  • Use technology and online services, and know how to analyse big data intentionally, to expand our ability to learn at an exponential rate.
    There are several shifts we need to grasp and take advantage of. It goes beyond the pandemic, because global change is perpetual.
  • Start moving from the trauma of past individual experiences and focus on inclusion as a mechanism for helping everyone feel comfort. Look at the opportunities that are offered.

Practical Steps Forward

Focus on your team’s emotional safety, in a proactive way, trusting that they will deliver the right services and products. Reaching out to people to be closer to your team and really talking to them includes active listening and empathy. Doing what you can to follow guidelines to keep your workplace safe is a part of that. Be explicit and upfront with your team regarding what you expect from your team members and what you will do to support your team to increase efficiency and confidence. Keeping scheduled check-ins and regular updates on actions and intentions throughout a project is a necessity. Build emotional capability by examining beliefs that prevented agility in the
past but had to be discarded to get through the pandemic. Be flexible by intelligently monitoring a combination of in-person meetings (if possible), video conferences and tele-meetings.

Examine what got better, what had to be let go of, and what got worse. Making a podcast of all responses that is read to the whole team, so they understand the common thread and ideas that they all had shared, is a powerful example. Daily planning which includes ‘power hours’ but also strategic thinking time is also beneficial. Planning for time out to think about strategy and longerterm issues will give a sense of continuity and calm.

Pragmatic advice for managers and leaders for leading teams effectively in complex and fast-paced times

Everyone is at a different place emotionally, so it is essential now to communicate, be upfront about your intentions and to be clear—for
example, before meetings and projects, so everyone is on the same page. As a manager or leader, it is your duty to state that the glass is
half full. Create one-on-one opportunities to have safe discussion, and plan to meet not just for crisis and urgent matters but to build
trust and openness. Creating an environment of inclusion involves much more than the absence of exclusion; it takes strong leadership
to remain focused on supporting, modelling and ensuring inclusion.

The Skills you Build Now are Essential to Survive Later

If you think the pandemic is a unique event in that you are going to get through it and go back to normal, as an organization you’ll be in trouble. Businesses are growing at an incredible pace and the skills that are needed to get through the pandemic are the skills needed to survive. The organizations that use the pandemic to develop those skills will succeed, the ones that don’t will be in trouble.

About the Author:

Dr. Geetu Bharwaney is the Founder and CEO of Ei World, helping businesses and leaders to rethink the way that work gets done.

Geetu’s motivating factor for being a leading change agent was not just academic; it was personal. Diagnosed with cancer over 25 years ago, she recognised the things in her life that were holding her back and making her sick and made the necessary changes to realise a different outcome.

One of Geetu’s key passions is to equip people to develop the skills and capabilities of working with emotional intelligence in their own arenas of work in these very challenging times. She is a qualified trainer of two pioneering accreditations in coaching tools for HR Professionals, coaches, and change agents – Team Emotional Intelligence Survey and Emotional Resilience Awareness Survey.

Geetu is also a published author, her book ‘Emotional Resilience: how to be agile, adaptable and always perform at your best (Pearson: London) is a definitive, comprehensive, and practical guide that deeply explores the subject of emotional intelligence.

Ei World –  Provides over 21 years of experience in executive and team development, having helped C-Level executives and large teams from companies in 45 countries to achieve growth by coaching Emotional Intelligence, Resilience, and Team Effectiveness to help them gain a competitive advantage.

Team Ei’s mission is to lift the client’s team dynamic and culture to the highest level through understanding the need for emotional intelligence and helping to cultivate it through building safety, trust, innovation, and a desire to improve continuously.

Business and digital transformation require human transformation. We help you enable the power of your people ~ Ei World ~

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