Five ways to help your team’s wellbeing this winter

With winter upon us, it’s vital to look after your team’s wellbeing. But what strategies work best for ensuring they stay healthy in both mind and body?

In my last blog I looked at how you can best look after your own wellbeing this winter. After all, if you can’t keep well how can you possibly be expected to lead and manage your team or teams? Having prepared your own plans, how can you then go on to meet the wellbeing needs of others?

As I said in the previous blog, it’s not change that does the damage, but the transitions that change brings. Change is inevitable, but it’s how we process and then successfully adapt to that change psychologically which makes the difference. Understanding our own reactions are one thing, but in a leadership role we also have to assess and manage how others are coping – or not – with change and the pressures it brings. No two people will react in the same way. We need to develop ways to both recognise how well or otherwise team members are coping and have strategies in place to enable us – individually and collectively as teams – to step in where necessary and give just the right level of support.

So, what are those strategies? Here are five which will help you and your team cope with the pressures of winter.

1) Manage your own wellbeing

We’ve said it already, but it’s worth saying yet again: you must put your own wellbeing first. Ignoring the warning signs in your own mental and physical health helps nobody. Recognising the signs and triggers of stress, and developing some methods to cope, can help you to sustain yourself and recover. If you’ve not already done so, take a look at my last blog to discover more about just how you can go about preparing yourself and feeling positive about managing your own wellbeing.

2) Tune in to their wavelength

As a manager or team leader you’re already expected to be able to pick up on what’s happening to your team. Some signs of stress are easy to detect, but not all individuals are the same. Some are good (if that’s the right word) at hiding their real emotions and getting on with it. But this is clearly not sustainable in the long-term. So, you need to be able to pick up on the signals – even the slightest of them – which team members are sending out. Even if they appear to be coping well, are you sure they don’t need some extra support? That means really listening to understand and finding a way to communicate with people that works for them – and not waiting for someone to put their hand up.

Having regular check-ins with both teams and individuals will provide an opportunity to intervene early – even if your support turns out not to be needed.

3) Be prepared to give and receive feedback

This is related to the above point. You need to be open to what others are telling you – verbally and nonverbally – and be prepared to act on what you hear. We can’t improve the wellbeing of our teams without asking them first. Again, as we’ve pointed out in the previous blog – there will be situations that are simply not possible to change. Struggling to do so will simply make things worse. If that’s the case you need to share that. But if the feedback provides suggestions on how to change your approach to make a difference, you need to assess these and be prepared to be flexible and adopt new ideas. Learning from what has worked and gone well can also help us in more challenging times.

4) Celebrate what goes well

Nobody is suggesting you throw a party every time something goes well but recognising success – even if it’s just saying ‘well done’ or ‘thank you’– is an essential way to make sure people feel positive about what they are doing. You are a team, so finding some ways to involve everyone in the successes, however small they may seem, is vital to helping maintain that positivity, especially when the chips really are down. Putting in place some preventative interventions can reduce the likelihood of negative physical or mental wellbeing occurring, and help to create a culture where staff wellbeing is recognised as being important.

5) Develop your wellbeing interventions

Don’t wait until you have to make a difficult decision on the spot. Sometimes you’ll have to make quick choices, but the more you can plan ahead, and be prepared, with some well thought through strategies in advance, the more likely you will be to make better decisions. You can’t prepare for every eventuality, but many of the issues you will face in the coming months are predictable and potential solutions can be worked out in advance.

Nobody ever said leadership was easy. Far from it. But by staying connected, being active not passive, keeping curious and asking questions, and being prepared to learn from the situations you find yourself in, and share that learning, all these things will both help you to cope with what lies ahead and, above all else, allow you to help those you lead and manage.

To find out more about preparing yourself and your team for the winter ahead get in touch.