‘If a plant were wilting we wouldn’t diagnose it with “wilting-plant-syndrome” – we would change its conditions.’ I love this quote from Psychologist Sanah Ahsan in a recent Guardian article.
Ahsan uses this plant analogy to compare how we, as humans, are expected to accept whatever conditions we’re dealing with and just carry on. For me, this is exactly what many organisations expect of their teams. ‘Let’s offer a wellbeing session and that’s us giving you the tools to just get on with things.’
Listening to the data
How many surveys do we need to tell us that something is wrong in our workplace, the level of attrition is increasing and stress related absence is at an all-time high before we take proper action? And no, a course on resilience is not the answer.
For a long time, despite being asked by many of our clients, we have resisted creating a ‘resilience’ workshop. It just didn’t sit well with us. It’s all well and good to tell people what they need to do to be more resilient and how they should be looking after themselves better but, more importantly, workplace culture and leadership needs to change to truly shift the dial and improve everyone’s wellbeing.
How do we change?
We need to change our workplace conditions. How do we do this? Start with changing the mindset and behaviours from the top. How many execs are still working all hours of the day, unsure of exactly where they’re going, scared or threatened that they won’t retain their status of importance if they are seen to fail?
Not many execs truly put their wellbeing above all else. I am not suggesting that people should constantly be on holidays or that we should all just meditate our way through life. Not at all. In fact, we know that living more purposefully is far better for our wellbeing than not knowing where we’re going. And living purposefully means that you understand the why. Why you are doing what you’re doing and where you’re heading on your journey.
Coaching is just one of the ways you can work on understanding your purpose and aligning this to your career. When leaders change their behaviours and actions it’s often reflected in the rest of the organisation. It’s more than just role modelling for others. Behaviours and actions drive culture and when leaders are more purposeful in what they’re doing, this provides permission for others to follow suit.
We all need help to create the right environment for us to flourish. Sometimes it’s a lot of support and sometimes it’s just a little, and this is what a coach provides. The support to get you to where you want to be. Living a more purposeful life; making sure the plant is blooming not wilting.