Change Agents have a tough job. Swimming against the current all day can be emotionally taxing. Change Agent Teams can help by practicing self-care and creating a respite from the jungle of the greater workplace. Today we’re going to specifically focus on teams such as CoEs (Centers of Excellence), Transformation Teams, PMOs (Project Management Organizations), consulting organizations and any other team that sends individuals out to work with other teams.
The teams that go out and help others build great teams, often have very little time to spend with their own team. When these teams do meet, it can be unclear how to spend the time. They might have trouble collaborating because their work is separate. When they start by focusing on self-care, the team can accelerate its performance.
Create a container for connecting. Allocate some time and space for the team to ‘come home’ and connect with each other. It will be hard to hold the container because people are coming and going. Set a very clear intention that you are holding a space of comfort. Start by taking a moment to close your eyes, take a breath and get present. How often do we take a deep breath at work? Then leave some unstructured time for people to simply speak and be heard.
Pair in the field. Sending individuals out into the field is hard on everyone. Sending people in pairs works much better. Not only is there a backup if one person is sick or on vacation, but they have support in the wild. Pairing is a popular technique for programmers, but may be a hard sell for change agents. Companies want to know that if 2 people are working, twice as much work is getting done. Consider pairing across 2 teams to make it more palatable.
Provide time, space and tools for recovery. Change agents need recovery time. After a day facing resistance, it can feel like you’ve been through a war. (no offense intended for people who have actually been through a war. I’m sure actual war is much worse.) Meditation is a great way for change agents to keep themselves from taking things personally, and keep a clear perspective. Having a meditation room onsite is a great idea. Going for a walk can help. Teams need to factor these breaks as part of their work day, rather than time-off.
Cheer each other on. Simply providing positive support for your fellow change agents can make a huge difference. Actor Alan Alda says "Backstage after a show, all an actor wants to hear is 'you were fantastic.'" It's not the time to give tips and feedback. There's enough criticsm in the life of a change agent, start by giving them some love and support.
How have you ensured self-care for your team? Let us know!