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Who’s looking after your wellbeing?

March 10, 2022

Thank you if you answered my survey last month to tell me what you want from a manager. The Positive Intelligence book is on its way to the lucky winner. 

I’ve only just got around to having a proper look at the results for good reason.  I had a heavy cold that wiped me out for a week and – drumroll, wait for it…took proper time off to get better. 😱

How are you at that? One consequence of the move to greater home working seems to be that it’s harder to switch off completely from work when we’re ill: the laptop is too easily in reach.

Who’s taking care of your wellbeing?

Putting ‘stopping’ boundaries in place is hard. We’re wrestling with our inner judge and other voices that tell us we’re letting people down or the world will end if such and such doesn’t get done. It’s an internal struggle made all the harder when we’re under the weather.

So it’s a real blessing if you’ve got people around you – like a caring manager – to remind you to take care of yourself and, on the reverse, it feels good to be that person who reminds others to do the same.

This need is reflected in my survey results. When asked to select what they wanted most from their manager, “Care for my wellbeing at work” came joint second, sharing the podium with “A sounding board to sense check ideas and proposed actions“. 

How coaching can plug the gap

If you’re feeling the lack of either of these from your manager at the moment, working with a coach can be a short term solution. I can help you examine things impacting your wellbeing, prioritise self-care or think through project plans and actions. At the same time, we can explore ways to resolve the root issue of insufficient support. 

The latter often involves considering what motivates and stresses your manager to help build better understanding between you. “Isn’t it their job to understand me?” I hear you ask. I’d argue it’s a two-way thing, but sometimes the other person can’t do this because they’re too plagued by the inner struggles going on in their heads. 

A cold isn’t the only thing that’s contagious

Stepping back to see things from your manager’s perspective can radically shift the dynamic between you because behaviour is contagious. Our mirror neurons pick up on the physiological and emotional state of others and automatically have us experience similar states*. This means that being the first to demonstrate things like empathy, active listening and appreciation is a subtle way of encouraging these sorts of behaviours from your manager in return.

Maybe you’ve been able to change a relationship by role modelling the support that you want to receive? Or maybe there’s a relationship that would benefit from trying it.

If you’re wondering what’s at no 1 in the employee ‘wants’ from their manager, you’ll have to look out for next month’s blog.

*Shirzad Chamine (2016). Positive intelligence : why only 20% of teams and individuals achieve their true potential and how you can achieve yours. Austin, Tx: Greenleaf Book Group Press 

About me

I’m Celia Clark. I’m a career development coach based in the dreaming spires of Oxford. I help you think clearly about your job, in all its ups and downs, so you can be happy and successful in your work.

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