CEO Today - May 2022

VISION & STRATEGY 46 Recognise the emotions in others When you look at others ask yourself what is that person feeling, and how did those feelings arise? Notice we do not ask ourselves WHY they feel the way they do. Instead, we open the gates of exploration with a HOW question. How did the feelings happen? We do this because it helps create a sense of understanding for the other person’s emotions. If we ask why they are feeling a certain way, we may never know the answer as we’re not them. But if we change the lens to ask ourselves how the feelings happened, it becomes easier to surmise the inciting action or circumstance. Train yourself to see the hidden signs. Be on the lookout for the tone of voice, body language, body proximity, and eye contact of other parties. Can you determine when your employee is nervous or seems distracted by something? These nonverbal cues can help you determine the best way to respond in a supportive and authentic manner. Channel Your Empathy A surefire way to strengthen your in-person office relationships is to support your employees emotionally as best as you can. Remember that the emotions others feel are true to them. Try to put yourself in your colleagues’ shoes for a moment to see things from their perspective. Then you can find what might be the root cause of their behaviour. Remember You Can Be Seen Leaders are always on stage. Your colleagues look to you not only for direction but also for nonverbal cues. Be aware of your body language. When you believe you are wearing a neutral expression, you may actually be scowling. You can help your colleagues eliminate stress by being keenly aware of your body language. This is especially important for employees returning to the office after months (or even years) of remote work. Certain “off-stage” behaviours may occur such as multi-tasking, facial reactions and audible sighing. Pay attention to these cues in yourself and your team. Acknowledge them with compassion as you do not want to add more stress to your team as they adjust to the new normal. In the event your team is still virtual, encourage informal faceto-face gatherings to maintain teammorale such as trivia lunch or twenty-minute happy hours. It is imperative to stay connected with your team. Feeling like you’re on a remote island can lead to undue stress. Lean into Vulnerability Vulnerability makes many leaders uneasy. The fact is when it comes to vulnerability, it is rarely “all or nothing,” but rather offering the most relevant pieces of the self to others in an effort to foster connection. Vulnerability is not “too much information,” or a laundry list of past failures. True vulnerability is far more contained. Simply put, vulnerability needs boundaries. Share your past mistakes and

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