A Champion Mentality

Most of us, will never be Olympic champions or break a Guinness World Record but, we can learn a lot from a champion mentality or mental strength from those who do.

The Netflix movie starring Jodie Foster and Annette Benning tells the story of Diana Nyad completing the 110 mile/180km swim from Cuba to Florida at age 64. A goal that had eluded her over 30 years earlier. What struck me when watching this, were 4 areas of mental toughness: confidence, control, commitment and challenge.

At no point in the movie does Diana waver in her confidence of herself and her abilities to complete the swim. At times demonstrating an overconfidence as she minimised some of the dangerous challenges she would face. Although I remember reading a fact which said confidence is 90% delusion. Her lack of sensitivity in her interpersonal communication however, becomes problematic and she often comes across as aggressive or intolerant. A tendency that can be seen in people who are high in mental toughness with a lack of empathy for others.

Nyad was determined to remain in control both of her life and the swim. Turning 60 seemed to be the catalyst for her refocus to achieving the goal. Emotionally she never waivers and her commitment to the challenge remains steadfast. With each jelly fish sting or shark approach she takes a learning mindset and finds the most qualified experts in the world to design for her a suit that would protect her. Mentally tough individuals do not shy away from risk but it would take the realistic approach of her team to ensure that the risk is balanced with safety precautions.

With each failed attempt armed with new learning she remains even more committed to achieving the goal breaking each task down to make it achievable and it would take 5 attempts over a number of years to do so.

We all lie somewhere on the sensitivity to toughness spectrum and it is a personality trait that determines our ability to respond to stress or challenges in our lives. I lean towards the sensitive side and some positive traits of high sensitivity are empathy, self-awareness, humility, strong intuition, but some challenges associated with this trait are feeling overwhelmed, people pleasing, lower tolerance, self-criticism, conflict avoidance. Part of my personal development over the past few years has been identifying which of these areas have been impacting me negatively and which serve me well.

When Nyad reaches Florida, she has three messages for us; never give up, you are never too old to chase your dreams, and it takes a team. If you have a goal for you or your team and feel development in the area of mental toughness would be of benefit, I would be happy to have a complimentary and confidential discussion.

A Return to Office Creates Mixed Feelings.

The announcement on Friday of a phased return to the office, may not have had an unanimously positive reception. Some can’t wait. They know they are energised by being around other people, and have missed the busyness of an office environment. Others, are more influenced by their inner thoughts and find the solitude of a home environment conducive to productive working conditions and even creativity. The former may find they are higher in extroversion and the later higher in introversion.

Temperament, impacts how we engage with our work experience. Introverts tend to be observers, listeners, and reflectors finding they do their best work when given time to process internally and share ideas later. Extroverts on the other hand find they will experience more creative collaboration when talking ideas out with others.

As he stood on those all too familiar steps Taoiseach Michael Martin made a really important point. We are, despite our variances in temperament all social human beings. Stereotypes suggesting introverts are anti-social or extroverts want to be around people all the time are incorrect. What’s needed is a balance and some tweaking of our former work environments can provide a workable solution. Let’s address a few areas that may make the transition a bit smoother to hybrid ways of working creating an approach that works for all temperaments.

Meaningful Relationships

There has been much sadness over the loss of water cooler moments over the past two years. It wasn’t the water cooler that created these moments of connection but the effort of the people involved to find some commonality on which to connect. This is why focusing on building relationships and finding areas in common by asking insightful questions can nurture those relationships. This can be facilitated through CSR projects, organising social events, or virtual coffees throughout the week. Just remember small groups work best for those higher in introversion.

Communication

Good communication is intentional and well-prepared. In a hybrid environment it will be important to ensure that whether people are in the office or working remotely communication is transparent and available asynchronously. This may take a bit more work than if everyone is in the office but also creates opportunities for people to contribute if they are less likely to speak up in a group situation. Create online forums for social chat and use those rather than e-mail for discussions, bring conversations that come up in the office back online for others to participate and ensure central hubs of information so everyone has access.

Office Design

Like everything office design has gone through different iterations such as all cubicles to total open plan. The middle version seems to be the answer. Modern office design much like the adaptation of our homes during the pandemic requires flexibility. There needs to be quiet spaces for people to not only have meetings but also work individually. Collaborative spaces will be a more important component of offices going forward as the time people spend in the office will be purposeful and focused on interacting with other people. Independent work which can be done remotely will be done so. Office design will need to shift in line with modern ways of working.

Let’s keep what has worked well over the past two years; the increased use of online asynchronous communication tools such as chat functions which work much better for those with a preference to writing than speaking, improved flexibility, a more human approach to work as we brought children and pets on zoom calls and an emphasis and appreciation of the importance of well-being,

If you are returning to the office in the coming weeks recognise there may be very mixed feelings along with some anxiety. Leaning into your emotions rather than ignoring them gives spaces to process and move forward. We’ll all be navigating this post pandemic world together.

Tips for Introverts Returning to the Office

A great realisation may have occurred to some while working from home; you might be more introverted than you thought. According to MBTI 9/10 people in the UK feel pressure to act extroverted. So, during the pandemic many of those pseudo extroverts may have realised they are in fact introverts.

Despite the fact that 50% of the population are introverted, extroverted character traits are more valued in the workplace leaving many introverts feeling they need to show up in an extroverted manner to succeed. While working remotely we may have been able to shield ourselves within a bubble, but if we now face a return to office how do we cope with this?

Here are some tips to help introverts navigate the return to office:

  1. Appreciate your temperament – your natural temperament is genetic so it is very important for building wellbeing that you recognise your needs. If you have found you need quiet spaces to recharge during the day, how can you find those opportunities in the office? Giving yourself space to recharge will allow you to show up better particularly when facing any challenges.
  2. Reflect on your work experience – what have you found has worked well for you while working remotely? Have you been able to focus more or found improved productivity while working in a quiet space? Can you request access to a quieter work area in the office or negotiate a flexible work schedule to allow you to do your focused work perhaps at home and use the time in the office for collaborative work? Maybe, you have found using technology such as contributing in chat functions in zoom much easier than trying to speak up in a meeting. Are there ways to incorporate technology to enable communication and create an inclusive approach?
  3. Have open conversations – sharing that you are an introvert with colleagues might allow others to open up also, it can still be taboo to admit you are an introvert! Extroverts may appreciate getting a better understanding of your ways of working and through improved understanding you can all learn to work better as a team.
  4. Take it slowly – we can’t erase the past 18 months. As an introvert you may have found it lonely, you may have experienced anxiety and worry, you may be experiencing re-entry fear. All of those are natural. If you are experiencing these, can you confide in a trusted colleague? Chances are, they may be feeling the same as you. Social connection is important for our wellbeing and for introverts who have a smaller social and professional network going back to the office can actually facilitate opportunity to connect with others. Remember social skills, communication and overcoming shyness are all skills that can be learned and we may feel a little out of practice.
  5. Put Well Being first – when we make wellbeing our goal it allows us to really listen to what we need and in turn design a work and life that suits us. It means taking a strengths approach rather than weakness fixing. If you are great at research but don’t like presenting it, partner up with a colleague or if your strength is curiosity ask the questions and highlight the issues leading others into conversation.

We have a moment in time to redesign work and I hope we can take that opportunity and make work fit around our needs.

Aoife Lenox as the founder of Inside Strategies is an Introvert Well-Being Coach and Engagement Specialist. Through training, coaching and consultancy she helps individuals and organisations to create positive and meaningful work experiences.

Learn to ‘Surf the Stress Waves’

A little bit of stress can be a good thing according to Catriona Kirwan of Catriona Kirwan Coaching. I was delighted to welcome her as a guest speaker for my Meetup Group Introverts in Business recently. The trick is, as her workshop name outlines, learning to ‘stress the surf waves’ staying on top of stress rather than drowning in it.

Stephen Hawking the Physicist said, ‘quiet people have the loudest minds’. MRI’s of the introvert brain have revealed neural pathways that show increased activity in the pre-frontal cortex in areas of long-term memory and planning functions resulting in higher tendencies for overthinking and ruminating.

Our preferences for one to one interactions, and small groups mean introverts tend to have a smaller social and professional network. This can mean we have less of a support network to turn to in times of stress.

In a study done in August 2020 Nixplay found that 50% of introverts as opposed to 12% of extroverts expressed increased levels of loneliness and 31% of introverts were increasingly unhappy while working remotely. While so many of us have embraced this new form of work at least in a hybrid sense learning to make sure we have the necessary tools to manage stress levels is really important for our overall wellbeing. This starts with awareness.

Catriona walked us through how our stories can influence our states and her visual of the traffic light system was very clear. If you end up in the red zone there are visible signs which you need to be aware of. Our ideal healthy state is to be moving between green and orange, this allows us to maintain a healthy state for our body which is in line with our story but also allow us to push ourselves when we need a little stress to motivate us.

The good news is, this is something we can manage and take control of but we should be proactive about it. Do a regular check in with yourself even a few times a day. How is your body feeling? Do you need to take a quick walk, or do some breathing exercises? Catriona walks us through a great breathing exercise at the end of the video which you can easily learn.

With more and more opportunities for remote work which physically disconnects us from colleagues we will benefit greatly from an understanding of the tiered response to stress and how to maintain healthy levels. If you’re interested Catriona has a 4 week course beginning September 28, 2021 which I can highly recommend or follow her on LinkedIn for lots of tips and tricks on thriving through times of stress.

Start with Temperament to increase Engagement

We’re all really busy. Busier than ever despite our access to increased technology. Authors Jen Fisher and Anh Phillips refer to this as ‘digital taylorism’, our increased emphasis on technology to be efficient and getting more done in as little time as possible.

We tend to put the so called, softer aspects of work such as building relationships and promoting our well-being to the side. Yet, as we regularly see, the cost of doing this is high. In fact, in 2019 the WHO listed burnout in their international classification of disease as an occupational hazard.

Improving workplace wellbeing rates and employee engagement is not just good for individuals, it’s good for business. In my coaching, training and consultancy work I share the importance of understanding your temperament, where you fall on the introvert – extrovert spectrum. It’s only one aspect of personality which is further influenced by our beliefs, values and experiences but it can tend to have a big impact on your workstyle. This in turn feeds into engagement levels and engagement statistics are recognised as pretty good indicators of productivity, performance and motivation.

As we move towards new models of work and teams are dispersed it is more important than ever to recognise our tendencies, weak spots and strengths. Through this awareness we can have open and constructive conversations on how our temperament is impacting our work style.

Feeling like we belong is an important component of engagement and belonging is built through being valued and respected. Despite the fact that the population is divided almost 50/50 in terms of temperament breakdown, over three quarters of introverts in many studies including my own workshops regularly confirm, they view their introversion as a barrier to their career and feel it is perceived negatively.

How can we build true trust and understanding if we don’t have open conversations about temperament? It won’t fix all problems but it can be a good starting point for creating further opportunities to promote strengths, as guide posts around weaknesses and discussions on decision making, communication and motivation all which can be influenced by temperament.

We have an opportunity in time to redesign work. Work which still resembles much of what was built in the industrial age and influenced by Taylorism, we have just added in the digital element which according to Fisher and Phillips is either giving us a dopamine fix when engaging with it or a low level anxiety as we wait for the next fix.

Let’s put well-being as a priority not on a to-do list but as Fisher and Phillips further suggest, design it within the flow of work. Positive work habits growing from increased awareness give back control in an ever increasingly unpredictable world where, belonging within our work environments is becoming more important than ever. Do this by proactively building connections with others, rethink inclusive ways for people to contribute so everyone feels valued and recognised through the use of strengths.

It’s back to the basics for us as we redesign work. Contact me to lead a workshop for your team as you navigate this new journey to redesigned work.

Aoife Lenox as the founder of Inside Strategies is an Introvert Well-Being Coach and Engagement Specialist. Through coaching, webinars and workshops I share how the intersection of temperament and engagement can help us design more meaningful work experiences.

Engage Yourself

Have you thought about how engaged you feel on a daily basis? What does engagement mean to you? People who are engaged usually feel energised about their work, most likely are using their strengths and are closely connected to their purpose.

According to Gallup only 15% of people are highly engaged and if you’re not engaged, you’re either looking for a job or open to taking a new one. We’re in the middle of a mass exodus of employees or the great resignation as it is being referred to. Employers take note, whether or how engaged your employees feel does matter. The pandemic has caused people to really appreciate the value of their time and caused many to re-evaluate how they spend it. Doing something meaningful in a setting where you feel you belong has become priority for many.

Engagement is not just good for your employer and personal satisfaction from work, it’s one of the five components of well-being. If you want to be proactive about managing your own well-being then you’ll pay attention to this part of your life. The handy thing about well-being is that it is a construct, that means it is something we can manage. Happiness is more subjective, dependent on what happens around us but well-being is something we can take control of and be proactive in promoting well-being strategies for ourselves. Here are some ways to help you do this;

  1. Find purpose in what you do – this doesn’t mean you have to leave your job because you’re not working on the front line or seeing direct impact to helping the greater good in the world but look at the small impacts or value you add each day. It might be helping a customer so their day is a little better, supporting a colleague or speeding up an administration process. Recognising progress or small achievements is important. You may have to remind yourself of these on a daily basis. Perhaps keep a journal detailing positive impact you feel you had each day.
  2. Use your strengths – most of us don’t know or proactively use our strengths. Sometimes because our strengths are the parts of our job that we find easy we discount them. Why do we feel overcoming challenges and doing the hard stuff is more important than doing what comes naturally to us? If something comes easy to you then that is your gift.
  3. Find where you belong – this can be a tough one. We tend to look externally for feelings of belonging but I think we need to look more inside of ourselves. Understanding your values and what is important to you. Valuing yourself and a self-belief in your own offering to the world. In my work supporting introverts I see many struggle with this because such negative perceptions around the introvert trait pervade. While the larger cultural shift still needs to happen to appreciate introvert temperaments, internally recognising your own traits as valuable is important work for you to do.

Engagement is not a final destination but a continually evolving experience. Check in with your engagement levels regularly and if you’re leading a team or responsible for others at work I suggest prioritising their engagement levels is a worthy goal.

Aoife Lenox as the founder of Inside Strategies is an Introvert Well-Being Coach and Engagement Specialist. She supports introverts in the workplace in promoting positive strategies for career development and well-being and employers to build internal levels of engagement through inclusive approaches.

Outside Perspective

I owned and ran a small business for ten years. Other than some accounting support I didn’t think I needed any other help. That is, until I did. Running a business involves people and when there are people there are complications. I didn’t realise how complicated it would be. I later learned there is a term called ‘lonely CEO’ and I can greatly appreciate this term. When you own a small business, you are it. I had no HR department to rely on, just me. At that time when I faced some significant challenges, I felt I had nowhere to turn. I didn’t know where to get help. I vowed I would work to ensure other small business owners didn’t feel like this.

If you are a small business owner you might think consulting or coaching support is outside your reach as it’s often considered a big business advantage to be able to afford consultants. It might be worth considering some of the advantages which can far outweigh the initial costs.

You’ve heard the phrase; it takes a village. This usually refers to parenting, another role in life we shouldn’t have to do alone. But I think it can also be applied to business. You may have set up your business because of an expertise in a certain area, you’ve grown and maybe now you have staff. Perhaps you’re beginning to realise the lesson I learned, where there are people there are complications. Could you consider bringing in outside help? It might offer some of the following advantages;

  1. Save you Money

While the initial cost of a consultant is an upfront cost the gains in staff retention and engagement can be significant. Some studies, according to this article predict it can cost 6 to 9 months’ salary to replace, train and bring a new employee up to speed. The average salary in Ireland is €52, 817, so even at the lower end it could cost you €26,000 if you don’t get it right. Spending time designing effective onboarding programmes, investing in learning and development and creating meaningful work experiences to engage employees is money well spent.

  1. Outside Perspective

When you are caught up in your business it can be hard to see the wood from the trees. A consultant can come in with fresh perspective and a different mindset because they are not caught up in the day to day issues you have been experiencing. They can also bring ideas that have worked in other organisations.

  1. Specialised Skill Set

You may not need a full time People and Culture specialist but just access to one when you need it. A consultant trained and experienced in this area can bring a specialised skill set to your business without having to pay exorbitant fees. This person is also not caught up in the culture of your business and tied to particular ways of doing things.

  1. Diversity is good for business

Diversity, including cognitive diversity brings fresh ideas or can challenge static ways of doing things. The pandemic has shaken up the status quo so embrace this change with examining how you do things. Are there better ways? Bringing in consultants from different backgrounds or different experiences can be invaluable for offering new insights into better ways of running your business.

  1. You’ll Learn a Lot

A consultant offering different ways of running your business can be a little unsettling. Learning can take us out of our comfort zone and make us feel uncomfortable. I know when I was managing my business control was important to me and that worked well, until it didn’t. I realised quickly how much I could grow and learn from having a support team and network around me.

If you need support reach out and don’t feel like you have to be the lonely CEO.

Aoife Lenox if the founder of Inside Strategies. I provide introvert coaching and training and people and culture support to small businesses.

Gentle Approach to Building Business and Career

This week, I had a great coaching session. It was nice to be the client and experience the benefits of coaching for myself. I talked a lot about the challenges of building a business. Anyone who has ever been involved in starting or growing a business will know what I mean. There is uncertainty, a huge amount of effort and resources invested, with no guarantee of immediate return.

As an introverted and highly sensitive business owner I feel these challenges really deeply. I find social media to be a busy and noisy environment. I don’t do videos even though I know I probably should. I don’t want to be on the radio even though I have been told I should. I get embarrassed if written about in the paper. I don’t talk about my business on my Facebook page because that is for friends and family. This begs the question, how will potential clients find me and if they don’t, can I even have a business?

During my session we identified that for me to communicate my message in supporting introverts in the workplace I need to speak from the heart. I speak from my experience of being an introverted leader and small business owner for ten years and now as an introverted entrepreneur building a second business.

One of my takeaways is that I need to trust myself, my story and my experiences. They are true and valid and I know from my clients that I am not alone. Confidence is a feeling of self-belief that you can handle it. This comes from valuing and trusting yourself. A powerful question to ask yourself is how much do you value yourself? Someone with high self-esteem might rate themselves an 8 or even a 9/10, for those of us with lower self-worth we might struggle with a high rating.

Trusting myself means owning my story and my feelings. The core message of my business is that you can find your unique and authentic path as an introvert. This means leaning into and appreciating your quieter qualities of listening, empathy, deep thinking, and reflection. If you are an introvert in the workplace you might need a gentler approach to career or business development.

What does a gentler approach look like for you? For me, it is writing blogs like this which allows me to showcase my strength in love of learning. It is in connecting one to one with people I meet through networking. It is investing in online networking which tends to be smaller groups facilitated by breakouts (I hope they continue post pandemic), it is in reconnecting with weaker ties within my network to keep connections alive. Most of all, it is about speaking from the heart on my journey as an introvert in business.

If you work in an organisation as you navigate your career, can you identify your gentler tactics? Perhaps you will proactively build relationships with people in other departments so you hear about opportunities. Or take on an organising role for an event which promotes your visibility, or perhaps sharing your expertise on a non-work related topic, which might be of benefit to your colleagues.

We have to be visible for people to know we are there but there is a gentler more authentic route you can take. Identify your strengths, do what you love, value your contributions and most of all trust you can do it.

Aoife Lenox is an Introvert Coach, Trainer and Consultant who speaks to organisations on her introvert experience of being in business. She runs her quiet series of workshops along with one to one career and business coaching.

Thrive as a Highly Sensitive Person

The persistent toe tapping of your colleague, the smells wafting from the kitchen, the distant hum of a radio in the background. These are all familiar sensual experiences, but for the 20% of the overall population who are described as highly sensitive these experiences can be labelled as painful.

Dr. Elaine Aron defined this term in the 1990’s and Elena Herdieckerhoff in her TED talk accurately describes it as being in a permanent state of osmosis taking in sights, sounds, smells and emotions. Highly sensitive people (HSP’s) feel deeply and about 70% are introverted.

If you are the parent of a child with sensory processing issues you will be familiar with the challenges of getting hair cut, brushing teeth, uncomfortable clothes, overstimulation and meltdowns. It’s not just children feel like this we just learn to mask it as we grow up.

Intuition plays a large role in being highly sensitive and it can be confusing because, it means lots of voices in our head. These voices might want to send us in many different directions. Perhaps difficulty in narrowing down a career, making decisions or voicing opinions or just promoting negative self-talk.

Dr. Aron says, our original social organisations were divided into those that were impulsive and tough, (knights and warriors) and the more thoughtful and learned types (priests, royal advisors). The HSP’s of this world naturally gravitate towards the royal advisor roles, often preferring self-employment or individual contributor roles with a lot of autonomy.

To thrive at work Dr. Aron says we need to first be aware of some potential obstacles. Low self-confidence can present as we compare ourselves to others who seem to have it all together. We can lack an appreciation of our role, qualities and contributions. We can spend excess time searching for our true purpose, sometimes pursuing education at the cost of experience. We are often afraid to ask questions or rock the boat. Aron says as worry prone perfectionists we may be the hardest boss we ever worked for.

Like everything overuse of a strength can prevent us from moving forward. We need to balance listening to that inner voice with taking practical steps to move forward. But strengths are powerful because they are the sails on our sailboat, when we engage with them, they will help us move forward.

Use your skills of perception to make sense of complex situations, understand relationships or identify patterns that might be helpful to problem solve at work. Build presence through empathetic connections with other people. Use your sensitivity to identify opportunities of kindness.

The best way for you to show up is your way. If that seems easy great, it means you’re using your natural talents and strengths, if it’s hard then try listening to your inner voice to guide you on what you should be doing and in finding that voice you will speak your truth.

‘People who are gifted and intuitive, yet conscientious and determined not to make mistakes ought to be treasured employees. But we are less likely to fit into the business world when the metaphors for achievement are warfare, pioneering, and expansion’. Dr. Aron

Changing environments can bring out feelings of anxiety causing too much arousal of the nervous system and for HSP’s this can be magnified. You may not even realise it is happening until you hit shutdown point and then try to figure out why. As countries around the world open up and the movement towards return to workplaces happens this can create quite anxious situations for HSP’s who have possibly been able to manage their work environment better working from home.

Every society and organisation needs all types of people; those that are highly alert and those less cautious and willing to explore every new thing along with lots of individuals in the middle. Yet, in the Western world we have created an ideal that not everyone fits into. A study done between the University of Waterloo in Ontario and Shanghai Teachers University compared most popular traits of school age children. In China, those who were ‘shy’ or ‘sensitive’ were chosen most, but in Canada they were chosen least. This trend continues into our organisations with a 2009 study in the Journal of Industrial Psychiatry which says only 2% of CEO’s are introverted. What traits are we defining as ideal in our students and leaders?

Valuing your unique contributions will help promote your feelings of self-worth and help you extricate that worth from other outcomes such as career or financial. Elaine Aron suggests we make peace and befriend our inner function.

If you are wondering whether are you a highly sensitive person you can take the online test here. In my coaching practice I specialise in supporting introverts, gifted, and highly sensitive people. We work on promoting your strengths, managing your environment and finding effective ways of moving forward. Reach out for a free discovery call at 087 917 5785 or contact me at aoife@insidestrategies.ie

 

‘I don’t want to go back to the workplace’

A feeling of optimism prevails, on a bright sunny morning at the end of April, as the reopening plan for Ireland over the next two months is unveiled, in national and social media. The beginning of the end. Nobody wants the pandemic to continue, but for a cohort of the population there have been some marked improvements in their working lives over the past 14 months, and that primarily revolves around; working from home. Working from home has, facilitated individuals to balance other demands outside of work, but it also meets the often, unspoken needs of about 30-50% of the population who are introverted.

As an Introvert Coach, I have noticed a common theme from clients who proclaim they will quit their job if they have to return back to the workplace. I can hear fear in their voices. With overall statistics showing improvements in productivity the argument for bringing increased flexibility to the workplace has been won. Introverted clients who come to me, tell me they have increased energy, experience feelings of calm, and can’t imagine ever going back. Research statistics show, that introverts fare poorer in well-being and happiness studies and so it is important to recognise the challenges that many introverts face at work.

Our workplaces, cultures and processes have been designed with the extrovert in mind. Busy and noisy work environments are overstimulating for many introverts who have a higher sensitivity to the neurochemical dopamine. Fast responses and quick decision-making suit the internal processing systems of extroverts who, we now know from fMRI’s, process information differently. Continual meetings suit extroverts who prefer to talk to think than the introvert approach of thinking to talk. Many introverts who previously worked outside the home, tell me by Friday they were just spent, with nothing left to give the rest of their lives. The intricate neural pathways of processing in the introvert brain drive a level of intensity that seems to drain all levels of energy. People exhaustion, regularly cited as the number one challenge for introverts has become less of an issue.

Introverts benefit from quieter environments, more structured online meetings, where time is managed and interaction can be facilitated by chat options and formalised breakout sessions to encourage smaller groups and participation. Reflection time is easier and this promotes our creative thinking processes.

Many organisations are opting for a hybrid model and this balanced approach may work very well allowing for some face-face collaboration time, along with the option to balance this working remotely. Many managers and leaders may be wondering how best to manage this. Hoping to create an inclusive environment but also cognisant of the how difficult it might be to ensure people working remotely are not left out if others are in the office. The solution is in changing what you measure. Move away from time spent in the office as the gauge and focus on building the individual working relationships particularly in the area of trust. If people feel safe, feel supported, have the opportunity to use their strengths and have positive and productive relationships at work they will naturally be engaged and location becomes unimportant.

If you are a manager or a leader I suggest treading carefully in the coming months. Check in with each and every employee. If you can’t do that, authors Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall say you have too many people in your span of control. Carry out engagement surveys. Find out what has worked and what hasn’t. The workplace of the future won’t be a one size fits all and will continually change. The platinum rule is; treat people as they want to be treated as opposed to how you would like to be treated. Temperament, whether you lean more towards the introvert or the extrovert end of the spectrum impacts how you engage with work every day and if we want to create workplaces that promote creativity, engagement and performance we have to consider the individual needs of employees and temperament should come high up the list.

Aoife Lenox is an Introvert Coach, Trainer and Consultant working with individuals and organisations to create meaningful work experiences built on strengths. Reach out to me for individual coaching, inhouse webinars or workshops or people and culture support.