Using Togetherness to Create an Inclusive, Healthy Workplace
Did you know the average individual will spend 90,000 hours at work over their lifetime? With so much time devoted to their organisation, it’s easy to see why an employee’s working environment is so important and has a direct impact on their wellbeing, performance, and development. As a leader, it’s normal that a large portion of your organisation’s working environment falls on your shoulders. You’re responsible for creating and maintaining an atmosphere where your team members thrive, develop their skillset, and hit their targets. However, in order to create an inclusive healthy workplace, it is crucial that you as a leader are equipped with the right resources.
That’s where we come in. Here at The Conscious Leadership Company (TCLC for short), our aim is to provide leaders, like yourself, with the support they need to lead in an effective, conscious way. Our framework is based on five pillars of conscious leadership. One of these pillars is 'Togetherness' which includes the need to create an environment in which everyone feels they matter and are able to do great work.
Although working environment quality is becoming a priority for organisations, and their leaders, there is still a long way to go. In a recent survey, 73% of participants stated they were considering leaving their jobs, even if they didn’t have another one lined up. A large reason for this great resignation is low employee engagement, and workers feeling like they’re underappreciated by their companies. So how do you increase employee engagement and develop an inclusive healthy work environment for your team members? Below we have included our tips to promote togetherness in the workplace.
Understand your team’s dynamic
As humans, we crave social connections and the relationships we have with others. While your team members’ primary responsibility is to complete their work tasks, it is incredibly important that you as their leader understand the dynamic they have with each other. In Google's Project Aristotle, researchers set out to discover the secrets of effective teams. When they looked at the dynamic of the most successful teams in the study, they found that what really mattered was less about who was on the team, and more about how the team worked together. These teams could depend on each other to get their work done, they maintained structure and clarity regarding what their individual responsibilities included and found meaning in the work they did and the impact it had on others.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, the less successful teams in the study didn’t have a strong working dynamic. Just as an inclusive healthy working environment can build someone up, feeling unappreciated or undervalued can tear someone down. When team members feel like their ideas are not being listened to, like they are being left out of conversations, or not receiving the support they need, they are less likely to be productive and contribute to a positive team dynamic. Conscious leaders keep this in mind and work to nurture a mindset of togetherness and inclusion at all times.
Foster psychological safety
In addition to understanding your team’s dynamic, promoting psychological safety among your team members is key to creating a healthy work environment. To start with it’s important to define psychological safety and understand what it looks like in the workplace. Organisational behavioural scientist Amy Edmondson first coined the term to describe a “belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes, and that the team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking”. Imagine someone on your team has an innovative idea that can help everyone else hit their targets faster. But because they are worried about how others will respond to their idea, they keep it to themselves. In this case, your team member does not feel a high level of psychological safety in their workplace. While the concept of psychological safety is easy enough to grasp, Edmondson’s work has shown how difficult it is to establish and maintain within an organisation. It requires a conscious approach when managing your team members and constant effort.
In her TEDx talk, Edmondson outlined three important things you as a leader can do to strengthen psychological safety among your team members.
Acknowledge your own fallibility:
Don’t pretend to be perfect in front of your team members, because well you aren’t. Additionally, where applicable, do not be afraid to use these moments as teaching experiences.
Frame the work as a learning problem, not an execution problem:
Recognise that there may be uncertainty ahead and you want your team to speak up, share their ideas and thoughts because it’s a safe space.
Model curiosity and ask lots of questions:
Be present with every team interaction and offer input and support when team members present ideas. Do not be afraid to ask questions and solicit opinions, input, and feedback from team members in a constructive way.
Remove the fear of failure
Finally, you must remove the fear of failure for your team members. If someone makes a mistake, it is not the end of the world, and they shouldn’t be made to feel as though it is. At the end of the day, your team members simply want to feel valued and respected. They want to feel like they are making an impact with their work and that what they are doing matters. As their leader, you are responsible for creating this inclusive environment and promoting togetherness in the workplace. If you’d like to learn more about how to do this and become a better leader, we’ve got the tools to help you.
Our UCL-validated Conscious Leader psychometric gives you a real-time view of how you’re doing as a leader. At the same time, our Consciously app is a digital learning and wellbeing platform that helps you build healthy environments for yourself and your team where everyone can thrive.