Many children services return back to work this week and many of the service leaders will be facing some challenging weeks or even months ahead.
Early childhood leaders will be considering how they can re-engage and motivate their teams when they are undergoing a high level of uncertainty and anxiety, due to the bushfires and ongoing drought.
Normally staff return back to work after their holiday feeling rested and relaxed, but sadly the affects of the bushfires will cause many people to be overly tried, anxious, sad, frustrated and disengaged with the prospect of returning to work.
Some staff may have been directly affected or have friends or family affected by the fires and or are worried about the future impact of the drought and bushfires.
They maybe physically and emotionally exhausted after spending several days volunteering.
They may feel drained due to days and hours of being drawn to watch the devastation unfold on their television screens or the constant distraction from checking fire news apps.
They may feel a sense of anger and frustration about the climate change issues and or lack of political action.
They may feel devastated by the loss of wildlife.
They maybe suffering the ill affects of the ongoing hazardous air conditions.
So you maybe asking yourself,
what can I do as a leader to ease my team back into work
and get the year off to a good start?
Below I have provided 3 Simple Steps to follow, that will ease your team back into work and help them to get refocus:-
STEP 1. Show them you care!
Create a conversational space when you can to help them express how they are feeling. Acknowledge their feelings and ask them how you and the team can support each other during these challenging time.This helps them to feel that they matter and that what they feel is important. Questions like: How have you been impacted? How are you feeling about...? What upsets you most about....?
STEP 2. Refocus
People inherently want to take action and do something to help. So if your service has not been directly impacted by the bushfires and drought, invite them to refocus on how they and your service can direct their energy in supporting a community or another early childhood service that has been directly affected.
STEP 3. Reframe
Once you have acknowledge how people are feeling help them to reframe their experience and focus on how they can support the children and families through this time. Help them to consider where they can create a positive impact (aspirational thinking) and at the end of the week, get them to reflect what they have achieved.
Be prepared to gently invite members of your team to return their attention back to work related issues, when they start moving into overwhelm.
Following these 3 SIMPLE STEPS is a great way to ease your team back into work during this time of stress and they will help you to re-engage and motivate them.
Make sure you and your leadership work through these steps before introducing them to your team, because it is important that you take care of yourself first by, refocusing and reframing your thinking, so you can share with them how this approach has helped you.
Be the example you want your team to follow!
Please review the Emerging Minds Website for some great additional resources
These are challenging times so please remember to reach be self-compassionate and reach out if you need support.