High-performance teams through syncing the senses

Have you ever felt as if managing your team is like trying to herd cats?  Each with their own personalities, ideas, work styles, ambitions …. and flashpoints?

Being a manager these days can sometimes feel more like being something between a diplomat and a firefighter – spending all your energies on keeping the team together and simply functioning, rather than developing and being truly productive.  Or to put it another way, putting out fires rather than igniting the potential within the team.

Don’t worry, you’re not alone.  Pressures on time and resources are commonplace and everyone is working flat out, so it’s hardly surprising that managers often sense that their team is just about coping rather than being truly effective as if the cogs never quite kick into alignment.  The problem is, if ‘just about coping’ is the norm, then you’re only a short step away from flare-ups, avoidable errors … or worse.

The problem of course is knowing what to do about it.  You want to be a manager, not a mediator.  If only there was a way of getting everyone to take more control over their own behaviours and emotions, some kind of fresh approach that gets to potential flashpoints before they have a chance to build.

Stress is often used as a catch-all diagnosis for these sorts of situations.  ‘Everyone is so stressed’ can become a common refrain and one that can, over time, become self-reinforcing: if everyone is stressed, this can legitimise exhibiting the symptoms of stress, and even absence.  It can also act as a convenient scapegoat, allowing individuals to abrogate responsibility for taking control of their own lives: ‘it’s not me, it’s the environment we work in.  Stress is real, but accepting it as a given can translate as an admission of failure of a situation that has gotten out of control; which begs the question of how to regain that control before problems occur.

Sensory Intelligence® Consulting works with teams to help them do just that.  Our approach is based on enabling individuals to regain some equilibrium in their lives by getting in sync with their senses. This will result in:

  • Improved teamwork and productivity
  • Improved staff loyalty and retention
  • Reduced absenteeism and sick leave

Most stress management techniques ask people to learn new skills, often just at the very time when they have little capacity to do so.  Our highly practical approach is rooted in making small, day to day, changes which together can add up to significant shifts in how people manage their outlook and stress levels.  Our approach is based on building greater awareness of the seven senses (sight, smell, taste, touch, hearing, plus two others, balance and body position) and showing people to tweak what they do already to achieve step-change, rather than introduce new techniques and demands on their time.

Wouldn’t you prefer to have your cats purring rather than fighting?

If you want your team to be in sync and working together harmoniously, join our Sensory Matrix™ workshop to make it happen!

By Tania Barney, a registered Occupational Therapist with the Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC), UK. Professional qualifications:  B App Sc (OT), M App Sc (Health Sciences), University of South Australia.

Mindfulness or Mind fulness?

Are you out of your mind?

You’ve lost track of how many e-mails are in your inbox, the report deadline is looming, you still need to deal with the snappy team member from the morning meeting and your next conference call starts in 5 minutes.  Your mind starts spinning and you start feeling frazzled.  Sound familiar?

As the tension starts to build, our minds get busy trying to deal with all of the information.  For many people, stress is experienced more in the mind than in the body.  However, as our minds pick up the pace and thoughts start to whiz around, our productivity and efficiency start to drop.  It’s hard to be innovative and creative when our minds are all over the place.  No wonder the business world is abuzz with mindfulness.

WHAT IS MINDFULNESS?
Jon Kabat-Zinn, a famous teacher of mindfulness meditation and founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction programme, says:  “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.”

Using mindfulness in the workplace is beneficial for both businesses and their employees.  People who practise mindfulness at work report clearer communication, improved teamwork and team relations.  Other reported benefits include:

  • Improved decision making,
  • A better ability to “think out of the box”, enhanced creativity, and
  • Reduced workplace tensions and improved customer service.

Mindfulness can take a long time to learn and a lot of intensive practise before getting results.  However, there is a quick and easy way to bring our awareness to the present moment and stop being caught up in our thoughts.  Focus on your senses and your sensory experience.  Notice your environment – what can you see, hear, smell, taste and touch.  I like to call this ‘sensory mindfulness’.  It offers a simple, practical technique to get you on your way to being more mindful.

SENSORY MINDFULNESS
Use the following technique as a quick and easy way to get out of your mind and be present in the moment.

  • Pause and take a few slow breathes
  • Look around you – what can see?  Notice the small details
  • Close your eyes – what can you smell?
  • Listen carefully – what can you hear?
  • What can you feel – can you feel 5 or more things against the surface of your body?

Take a little time each day to tune into your senses and get out of your mind.

By Tania Barney, a registered Occupational Therapist with the Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC), UK. Professional qualifications:  B App Sc (OT), M App Sc (Health Sciences), University of South Australia.