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How Are You Today? No, Really, How Are You?

Today, more than ever, people are not ok, and if we choose to assume that they are, we have just opened ourselves up to many potential problems.

Since the advent of COVID, many have experienced some of the most stressful circumstances they have had to deal with. If you are a leader, part of your job is to achieve high levels of employee engagement by helping your employees through these challenging times.

Let’s go back to the title of this blog. How are you today? No, really, how are you? You see, the statement “How are you today?” rarely gets an honest response from the other person. Typically, we hear, “I’m good. How about you?” and that’s all we hear. Have we really determined how the other person is truly feeling? Probably not. The second part, "No, really, how are you?” This is the question we should be asking.

For some of you, striving to understand how the other person is doing… how they are really doing... comes easily, but that is not the case for everyone. Why is that? Well, it boils down to one word. Vulnerability. If we truly want to understand how the other person is doing, we must open the door to vulnerability, which does not come naturally to some.

Google the definition of vulnerability, and you will find some different answers, but the one that resonates with me for this blog is as follows:

Noun - Willingness to show emotion or to allow one’s weakness to be seen or known.

Opening that “Vulnerability” door can be a scary prospect because inevitably, the conversation will head in a direction we may not be comfortable with, so let's explore a tool you can use to get comfortable opening that door.

A tool I share as I facilitate our Leadership Effectiveness series is “The Mood Elevator.” Participants of this leadership series consistently recognize The Mood Elevator as one of the most impactful tools they learn. Participants rave about this tool because it helps them start a conversation they would not normally know how to start. Take a look at the Mood Elevator graphic:

This simple concept, created by Dr. Larry Senn, illustrates four different levels of emotional states. Describe this diagram to an employee during your next one-on-one, and then ask them where they are on The Mood Elevator. Based on their response, ask follow-up questions designed to get them to expand on their answer. It can be a great tool to have impactful conversations and identify potential issues you may not be aware of.

An important thing to remember is that we never want to push people into a conversation they are not comfortable having; so, if you think your employee is uncomfortable having a discussion of this nature, don't push any further. Instead, let them know that their overall well-being is incredibly important to you and that if they ever want to talk, your door is always open.

The Mood Elevator is a great tool to use during your regular one-one-ones; however, outside of those meetings, be on the lookout for the following signs that your employee(s) may be unhappy or not fully engaged.

  • Excessive absenteeism or tardiness

  • Unwilling to participate in team meetings or consistently off-camera on virtual calls

  • A decline in work quality or missed deadlines

  • Complacency

  • Poor communication

  • Rarely takes vacation days or personal time off days

Make sure you genuinely tune in to your employees. Actively listening to them, work on your emotional intelligence, and truly seek to understand their operating reality. Need assistance accomplishing this? We can help. Our Leadership Effectiveness training program is designed to equip leaders with the skills they need to better connect with their team and help them grow. Contact us to learn more.


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