Episode 36 – Solve the Stalemate: Co-create Your Team’s Future of Work – with Clare Kumar
News reports keep informing us that leaders and their teams are at odds on how best to get work done. Executives are issuing mandates to return to the office while employees have redefined their ideal way of working and it includes much less or even no time in the office. This tension reveals itself as employees quit, quietly or otherwise. Clare digs into both sides to understand the cause of the standoff. She offers practical ways to bridge the gap such as ten ways leaders can create more effective teams and introduces the new Happy Space® Work Style Profile™ to help workers articulate what conditions invite their best performance. The profile is part of the Happy Space® Total Team Work™ program to help leaders and their teams co-create their future of work.
Productivity catalyst, highly sensitive executive coach, and international speaker Clare Kumar explores the intersection of productivity and inclusivity. She inspires individuals to design for well-being and cultivate sustainable performance while avoiding exhaustion and burnout. She encourages leaders to co-create the future of work with their teams all while respecting neurodiversity and humanity. This is a topic Clare explores with innovators here as the host of the Happy Space Podcast.
Clare draws on a diverse corporate career that took her from Toronto to Tokyo and Montreal, with equal experience as an award-winning entrepreneur. She is a sought-after media contributor to news and lifestyle shows including the Huffington Post, Fast Company, the Globe and Mail, CBC Radio, The Social, and the Marilyn Denis Show. Whether speaking to one person or thousands, Clare loves inspiring massive shifts by inviting you to pay attention to little things that make a big difference.
00:01:40 Tension between Leaders and Employees
00:04:09 In case we haven’t met before…
00:05:47 Productivity is personal and flexibility is inclusivity
00:05:47 Remote vs. in person work
00:08:37 Leaders’ attitudes towards control and management
00:13:47 What employees are really thinking
00:15:05 The world has gone through significant challenges
00:16:40 Building a culture in a world of “black Zoom squares”
00:20:42 10 ways leaders can create more effective teams
00:32:37 Taking the Happy Space® Work Style™ Profile
00:35:07 Sharing your profile with others & the value of disclosure
00:38:54 Happy Space® Total Team Work™ Program
00:43:06 Where to find Total Team Work™ program, Work Style profile and links
Learn more about and follow Clare:
Highly sensitive executive coach and productivity catalyst, Clare Kumar, explores the intersection of productivity and inclusivity continually asking how can we invite the richest contribution from all. She coaches individuals in sidestepping burnout and cultivating sustainable performance, and inspires leaders to design inclusive performance thereby inviting teams to reach their full potential. As a speaker, Clare mic-drops “thought balms” in keynotes and workshops, whether virtual or in-person. She invites connection through her online community committed to designing sustainable and inclusive performance, the Happy Space Pod. Why? Because everyone deserves a Happy Space.
Believing that productivity is personal, the podcast is produced in a variety of formats so you can enjoy it in the medium you prefer:
Listen to the audio right here or on your fave podcast platform.
If you prefer to watch the video, check out the episode on YouTube.
If you prefer to read, please see the transcript below.
Ready to learn more, or want to find out more about coaching with Clare or hiring her for your next engaging event? Contact Clare here.
If you enjoyed this episode, please leave a heartfelt review as this will help other listeners discover the podcast. Please invite your colleagues, friends, and family to listen as well. Together we can design a more inclusive world where everyone can make their richest contribution.
And don't forget, everyone (including YOU) deserves a Happy Space.
Audio and Video Editing: Jaclyn Enchin
Production Assistant: Luis Rodriguez
Song Credit: Cali by WatR. from Pixabay
I believe that humans deserve to lead fulfilling lives. To be fulfilled, we need to give. To give is to receive. And though it's not always easy, a pervasive challenge is that our spaces, our environments, our communities and work cultures, they're not designed to make it easy for everyone to contribute. This brings me to my work today and my drive to make the working world far more inclusive and invite everyone's best performance.
You're listening to episode 36 of the Happy Space Podcast. And today it's me, Clare Kumar, who will be with you. We're going to be talking about solving the stalemate, looking closely at the tension between leadership and employees, and I've got some solutions for you.
Tension between Leaders and Employees
Clare Kumar: Tension between leaders who want everyone back in the office and employees who want to hold on to many advantages of working remotely continues, even though research shows that the return to office has flatlined. In fact, Stanford researcher Nick Bloom anticipates future growth in the amount of remote work as technology enables even richer connectivity and employees build skills to work effectively from anywhere.
Teams everywhere are stuck with leaders frustrated and employees burning out or opting out, quitting quietly or not so quietly. It's an expensive problem that needs practical solutions. No organization is the same. No two teams are the same. There's a level of detail necessary to optimize performance that organizations have not yet recognized they need to make time for.
We need to slow down for a moment to ultimately speed up. In this episode, I'm going to share tools and a program I've built to enable leaders to relax their urge to control while inviting employees to move willingly toward compromise, all while respecting each other's needs for productive work. With a focus on performance combined with facing the reality of today's workforce in a safe and facilitated way, teams will co create their own future of work.
I want to hear from you about the thoughts I share on this episode, especially if you can think of a leader and a team stuck in this tension. It's time to end this stalemate. Please leave a review on Apple, Spotify, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts, or YouTube, if so moved, and really appreciate hearing from you.
It's kind of lonely in the podcasting world and reviews really, really, really make any podcaster's day. And speaking of reviews, I want to thank Chief Workplace Officer, who wrote, I just stumbled upon this podcast and I'm so glad I did. Amazing guests from workplace and management gurus to psychology experts and human centered leaders adding to my regular playlist now.
So thank you, Chief Workplace Officer, that was a delightful review to read and happy to have you. I hope if you're listening today that you have a smile on your face and warmth in your heart. So how do we break the stalemate? Stay tuned and I'll explain what we can do.
In case we haven’t met before…
In case we haven't met before, I'm your host, Clare Kumar, and every dozen or so episodes, I switch formats and offer a solo episode.
No matter whether I'm coaching, speaking, teaching, or acting as a spokesperson for brands, I look at the intersection of productivity and inclusivity through the lens of a highly sensitive person. For more on the temperament trait that affects about one in five and some say more, check out the first episode of the Happy Space podcast where I explain the trait and several more episodes as well.
Exploring how to live successfully with it, in particular, Andre Solo's episode 15, where we look at his latest recent book in 2023, looking at sensitivity and even the latest research about the trait. Today, I'm an entrepreneur, but I didn't start my career that way. I spent over 15 years working corporately in Toronto, Tokyo, and Montreal, and in a wide variety of roles from marketing to sales support, product development, business development, finance, and internal communications.
I've had work that I've loved and jobs that were really not suited well for me. I've enjoyed flexibility that made life and work fit beautifully together and unfortunately ran into both rigid leadership and a tough commute where that all fell apart. Since starting my own company, I've helped thousands of people get organized and build productivity skills.
Productivity is personal and flexibility is inclusivity
And through that, I've learned so very much about how our preferences vary widely. I now know that productivity is personal. Since being diagnosed in with MS in 2014, I've radically redesigned my life. I've shared some of those stories on the podcast, and I now include wellbeing as part of performance.
This is part of why my focus has expanded as well to look at inclusivity.
I analyzed my last corporate job and I discovered that 90% of my collaborative work was done over the phone, so I offered to come in 50% of the time, and for any meeting that was scheduled. That was simply not good enough for my leader at the time.
I've since realized that in addition to productivity being personal, flexibility is inclusivity. I was effectively designed out of that job by a leader who had one perspective on how work should be completed. I believe that humans deserve to lead fulfilling lives. I believe that humans, I believe that humans deserve to lead fulfilling lives.
To be fulfilled, we need to give. Or to give is to receive. And though it's not always easy, a pervasive challenge is that our spaces, our environments, our communities, and work cultures, they're not designed to make it easy for everyone to contribute. This brings me to my work today and my drive to make the working world far more inclusive and invite everyone's best performance.
You can hear plenty about why this is just good business sense in recent episodes with Marjorie Aunos, Denis Boudreau, and Lisa Whited I spoke with a friend this very morning who is a chief people officer of a global company.
She was telling me how leaders understand that we're stuck, yet we're getting tired of talking about the same thing and not seemingly find a path to move forward.
It's really time to solve the stalemate.
Remote vs. in person
First, some background on the perspective of leaders. Despite proven productivity gains, leaders still cling to their preference for presence. Listening closely to a variety of senior leaders over the last few months, there seemed to be a few reasons at play. Number one, an understandable compulsion to maximize the use of existing real estate investments.
We've got all this square footage. It makes sense to use it. We really should make this investment work. I mean, the episode with Lisa Whited talks about the fact that. Pre pandemic, offices were used only at 50 to 60 percent capacity anyway, so they've never been highly well utilized, and now we're seeing that we've moved from four percent of days being spent remotely.
From 28 to 30%, somewhere around 28 percent of workdays being spent remotely now. So there's been a dramatic shift in the ability and desire to work from home. And that of course is changing the need for office space. It's definitely not what it was. So my analogy for that is, for the women out there, it's like you had a child, maybe you've had a maternity leave and you're two years from when you were in the workforce with your regular body.
Now your body has changed, the styles have changed, and you open your closet and you're thinking, These clothes should work, shouldn't they? I spent a lot of money on them. But really, maybe not. Maybe it's time to get a new wardrobe that fits who you are now and suits your lifestyle now. And so it's kind of the same with office space.
We've got an understandable drive to make use of what's there, but it really needs a redesign.
Leaders’ attitudes towards control and management
Number two, there's a desire for control power and ego may definitely play a role in exerting pressure on people to to come back to the office and the mandates that we've seen commanding people to do so.
Number three, there's an appetite as there is with I think everyone and appetite for ease and convenience. But what's interesting now is that not only is time abstract, for those who haven't managed before a disbursed workforce, people are now abstract too. And we don't have the same triggers to rely on.
We can't open our door and see all of our staff outside and say, Oh gosh, I know I need to give you that. And can I call you impromptly together? The spontaneity is gone. The connection is gone and the ease of management through visual triggers is gone and we need to find different ways of leading and managing hybrid and remote work.
It is a little bit more complex and it's harder if you haven't done it before. I'm so aware of the leadership load being heavy already that this is another layer. And it would be very easy to say, I want it the way it used to be come back to the office and make it easy on me. And I think that's really an unspoken drive for some of the initiative to say, I want you back in the office.
There's also something called the false consensus effect. And this is a situation where individuals think that the way they think and the way they work, probably is the way for everybody else. And yet it really isn't. I just heard a senior leader explain how he is very, very productive at home on administrative tasks.
But in his words, any real work was done in the office. And he opened the comment by saying this is a bias, and I said it absolutely is a bias because it's grounded in your perspective, which is totally valid and totally may be true for you, but may be completely false for someone else.
They may do their real work at home and can get some administrative support. Tasks done in the office or not at all. So recognizing that there is no one way is really, really important. I also heard another leader this week after really, I thought progressively working with the team to design periods where everyone was in the office and periods where no one goes into the office, depending on the work that's being done.
Also say in the same meeting, if he could have his way, he would have everybody back in the office five days a week. And I was really surprised to hear that. It is more complicated, but I think people need to understand the why of. Giving up some of the convenience they've had managing life and work from a remote location at home or elsewhere that's more comfortable potentially than going in the office.
And they really need to get the why it really needs to be something that makes sense. So those are some leader perspectives.
What employees are really thinking
The employee perspective on the positive side, I've been polling participants in workshops that I've been giving, and I hear people say they love the autonomy of working from home and choosing how and when and where they work.
They find great relief in avoiding a stressful and time consuming commute often. The time is reinvested into self care and improved relationships. All of those positives, though, also coexist with some challenges, one of them being blurry boundaries between personal and professional time. Also, feeling isolated and a real lack of social connection.
That was playing on a lot of people's minds in in some of the workshops. And the third one is suffering from distraction and a lack of adequate self discipline, motivation, drive, ability to speak, stick to intention, that kind of thing. And those are significant challenges.
And if you're watching the YouTube video now, video now, you can see Ellie's here with me as he often is for a podcast and he seems to want some love and cuddles. Okay. There you go, Ellie.
The world has gone through significant challenges
What I don't hear enough of amongst all this conversation though is recognition that the world has gone through significant trauma and indeed in parts of the world is still going through trauma. Our climate is in crisis. We have residual effects. I was just reading some articles from a doctor about the susceptibility for people who have had COVID infection to have a weakened immune system and be susceptible to numerous other infections that are raging in the fall and winter in the northern hemisphere right now.
I sense we're trying to forget everything we've learned and just carry on because we are so exhausted about caring and worrying. I also know from personal experience that I found people out in public a little bit easy to fly into defensiveness and potential aggressiveness.
I've seen this personally in situations and I just worry about the general state of people out there. Cognitive ability also being affected by COVID fragility stress, anxiety, all of those things. I don't think I've heard an articulate conversation saying that we should adjust our expectations.
We should adjust our expectations of what people can deliver and how they work. I think it's gone unsaid and unaddressed. I think there is a percentage there that probably needs a shift based on what we're experiencing, and we haven't named it. We haven't actually put a number to it.
Building a culture in a world of “black Zoom squares”
I'm hearing organizations say that they're not confident about their cultures. and about employee loyalty. And absolutely, I see a continued struggle with people saying, how do I build a culture when I go on to a Zoom call and it's nothing but black squares. That happened to me recently at the SHRM Inclusion Conference.
I wrote a blog post about SHRM Inclusion and how DEI is not dead, if you want to check that out on my blog post. But at that conference, I participated in a networking session, and there were about 25 people participating. Beautifully facilitated from a conversation and an openness point of view.
Loved it. But only four people had their cameras on. And I was grateful to be there on a media pass. I'm not an HR professional. I'm someone supporting people at work. And I said, I have a question. I said, this is about inclusion. And this is about networking where we're building relationship. I said, I'm really surprised to see only four cameras on.
And I said, if this is what's happening in the corporate world, then this is the first thing we need to fix because we will not build the ability to connect deeply without being able to see each other when we need to see each other, express ourselves to the best of our ability and generously so that others can understand us.
I mean. A video is difficult, right, because right now, if you're watching the YouTube you'll see I'm looking right at the camera. And if I was to be looking right at the camera while I'm Zoom, unless I have the camera mounted in the middle of my screen, I'm not looking right at the person. I'm looking slightly off and there's a bit of a disconnect there.
I'm not sure I'll do well with seeing the camera in the middle of my screen. I think I'll find it too distracting. So this is what I choose to do. But it's an example of this. I think it's back to back meetings and zoom fatigue is part of it. There's so much exhaustion. There's not recognizing the specific purpose and value add that video can have, especially when meeting each other for the first time for sensitive and complex communication.
I think that we need to be really thoughtful about what a meeting purpose is and whether video is going to add to it. If it is, then we need to be explicitly requesting video connection and to state why in the meeting itself or in the meeting agenda and the request, so that people can understand that the default for many meetings should probably be cameras on.
And then if there are special needs to not have cameras on, if there's considerable fatigue, not getting dressed for work and not being presentable for camera. Not a great one. I'm a full believer in putting a hat on if you need to. I have the worst, worst, worst bedhead in the morning and I have gone on camera with a cap on to be present, to be in connection with someone and not inflict my bedhead on them.
So I think there are things we need to look at as leaders to say, here, It's for the benefit of the group to have this level of communication. And so looking at the employee loyalty and capacity and conditions for work, looking at all of these things, we need to understand what they are, and we need to be able to navigate that and also ask for what we need, and you’ll hear me talk a little bit more about that.
10 ways leaders can create more effective teams
With the research is showing around productivity, desire to work in the office, leadership, desire to have people back in the office all of this input and with my productivity hat on, I started to think about what would be helpful to organizations to invite the necessary conversations to stop the tug of war.
And I came up with 10 things that I think are really important, and I'll run through them now for you.
Number one is every team had better have a shared objective. Otherwise, they're not really effectively a team. Part of being a team implies you're working towards the same thing.
And I think it's important that everybody on the team understand how their contribution affects the outcomes and the team itself. And having that understanding is very powerful.
Number two, productivity is personal. I mentioned that before my work with so many, so many people has taught me that there are so many ways to come out doing something.
And I've talked about it, whether it's folding your jeans or hanging them up or putting them on a hook or putting them in the drawer or rolling them or putting them in a bin. Whatever it is, there are numerous ways to just manage how you store a pair of jeans. Imagine how many ways there are to come at solving a problem.
Creative work. Our brains need different levels of stimulation. Some people want a busy coffee shop and that coffee machine going so that their brain is forced to filter out that extra noise and they can work on that particular problem. Other people thrive in a library. It's funny, I went to the Toronto Reference Library earlier this week and the same feeling hit me as when I was at university.
It's so still in there, I can't work, there's not enough, there's, I don't know, it feels so uncomfortable for me, I just want to get sleepy and put my head down, or worse, I get an immediate case of the sniffles and will annoy anybody within earshot. So libraries and I, not, great for browsing, not great for sitting and working.
So productivity is personal, we must, we must acknowledge that we work differently.
Number three. Flexibility is inclusivity. We've got to allow for the differences in how we work. And and allow for us to find the circumstances that allow us to perform at our best. There is no point to force introverted people into a busy space where they're interrupted by lots of people and chaos.
Or quiet or sensitive people who won't find it themselves able to focus, people with ADHD are susceptible to distraction. Very, very difficult to work in some of the open office environments that were very prevalent. And, you know, as I've seen organizations talk about moving to hoteling or hot desking, unless there's sufficient calming and physical barriers and sound barriers.
It's not going to be an environment that many people are going to be comfortable in, and you'll have a resistance to use that space. So we have to really understand what people need and provide the options.
Number four, connection is critical. We have to find ways, especially if we're not coming together regularly, to build connection into the work.
It's not an add on layer once a year we come together to meet. That's wonderful. But. You've got to embed it in everything you do, which means in your hour meeting, you're dedicating a few minutes to the hello, how are you connecting. It's booking one on ones. It's perhaps booking random meetings and cross functional get to know yous.
So some of that randomness becomes one on one human connection. And even the introverts and highly sensitive people really do enjoy one on one connection if they might find groups somewhat overwhelming. So definitely important to find ways to continuously build relationship.
Number five. Empathy is essential. So if we're going to look at productivity as personal and flexibility being inclusivity, it only really works if we're really, truly going to understand what someone else might be going through and what their needs might be. And so we must con true. We must truly consider each other's needs, including those of the leader.
And one of the things I see happen is that leaders. They, you know, they carry the weight of the work on top of managing the team. There's always projects. There's always work that they have to do on their own, plus managing the team. And the expectation from a lot of employees that is that leaders have it all figured out and it's their job to manage all of this.
And what's important to recognize is there's been a big load in translating messages from senior leadership, which they may be completely in line with, or maybe have some tension with, and also any challenges they're having, struggling with this abstract nature of work. And it's really not in our culture, celebrated or invited.
For leaders to ask for help of their teams. And I think it's really important that we start to see leaders and teams as people on the same team working towards that shared common objective. And yes, a leader might have a different set of responsibilities and overarching guidelines and some decision making power, but we really need to work together.
So that they have the information they need to make the best decision and that they start to trust the employees, too. So if we can think compassionately, compassionately about our leaders and even think about how we can help them. It can go a long way to breaking this tension and this need for control and invite us all towards compromise.
So that's a huge part and empathy, I believe is the key to unlock a lot of that. Number six is we need intentional structure. If you've listened before, you've heard me talk about propensity to desire order and structure in our schedules, and I often refer to it as having the right tension in your trampoline so you can, you know, with the right tension, you can really bounce to great heights if it's not tense enough.
If it's very lax, you'll hit the ground. And if it's too tight, you're not going anywhere. So finding your relationship to structure and finding your team's relationship to structure is really what I'm going to be talking to you about next. And that's critical. One of the things I hear a lot from leaders is that, oh well, we used to have one on ones.
And they are often one of the first things to be sacrificed because it's a conversation about how the work is going and sometimes about the work as well, but it may feel less necessary than some of the other things. But I can assure you, one on one meetings with your team are absolutely critical because keeping an eye on the how work is done and also building the relationship all the time is very, very, very important.
When it comes to intentional structure, I want you to think about what's essential and stay there. Don't, less is more here. What's the minimum that you need to be in touch? Focus on the how and have everybody go off and do their great work. So not adding another meeting for the sake of having a meeting, but being really thoughtful about what needs to be in that meeting.
Number seven, task based, it's really, this is really about coming together around the objectives and around them. Therefore, the tasks that lead to those objectives. And I really encourage analysis of tasks to, to determine what's required to make them successful. So when you look at a particular task that's on your plate, is it something that is needing really creative work?
That happens for you in a coffee shop or in your backyard or in your office, or, you know, in your corporate office downtown, potentially, where does that work for you best when you are needing to collaborate with others? What serves you best? Do you really want to be bouncing ideas off people in a room with a 50 foot whiteboard.
I'm not exaggerating. I'm thinking of my work with a business coach, Pam Slim last year, where I think it was about a 50 foot whiteboard that we used in a planning session where the very seeds of what I'm going to talk to you about next were, were hatched.
Number eight, I think it's important to consider compromise. So understanding what needs are, understanding the tasks, understanding different relationships to structure and order, because they're not going to be the same either. What can be done to move towards each other, rather than away? And to invite yourself to always say, what can I do to make it easier for someone else that I'm going to be okay with?
I think Number nine is to be brave. There's bravery required in asking for help often or disclosing a need. We want to be seen as being capable and having everything figured out, whether we're an employee or a leader, but it's really important. To ask for and receive help for ourselves, but to also be part of a culture that makes it permissible to ask for help and to disclose.
If we're able to do that, we're not going to be blindsided by so much. We will actually be able to clearly make requests and feel like it's all right to do so, especially if we see that happening around us. Amy Edmondson's work on psychological safety is all about how are you able to express yourself?
Are you able to express yourself and without fear of big negative repercussions? And I think that's something we want to strive to. to create in our cultures. And if leaders can demonstrate that bravery and vulnerability, which Brene Brown talks a lot about, then it will go a long way to fostering a culture where people speak up and ask.
Ten, I want you to consider the costs of not achieving compromise. So if we don't compromise, if a leader orders everybody back to work, I've seen this. I've seen this happen. I've seen it where a mandate's been issued and people have left. I've heard, like I mentioned, this one leader's comment this week where if he could have what he wanted, he would order everybody back to the office and he had no idea what the cost of that would be.
And I think it's very, very risky. To not know what the impact of a decision is, because if you are assuming it's for the benefit of the business and the impact is much more dire than that, then you could really be putting your organization at risk. So the whole of what I'm going to talk to you about next.
It's really about getting to address all of these 10 items and build that culture where we can actually move out of this stalemate.
Take the Happy Space® Work Style Profile™
So if we're going to understand each other and use our greater knowledge, our greater knowing as parameters for designing work, then we really have to be able to express our needs.
The first step in this process is to take the newly created Happy Space® Work Style Profile™.
This is a self assessment that takes only about 10 minutes to complete, and it prompts you to select, just tick off answers to questions about such things as what conditions invite your best work, like preferred time for focused work, preferred channels for communication, temperament trait, learning preferences.
Ergonomic supports, leadership style, and more. I've really thought through my work as a productivity coach, different people I've worked with, and reflected on a lot of the needs I see not being spoken about, or being spoken about in a very fragmented way. And I want to bring all of this together in one place.
There's also a nuances necessary section where you have a chance to describe in detail the things you're skilled at as well as the challenges that you are aware of or anticipate facing and anything else that you think is relevant. And in the current version, you'll get an email back with a summary of your responses.
It doesn't turn you into a blue, red, yellow, orange. It doesn't turn you into an animal. It doesn't turn you into anything. It basically gives you back in a summary, what you've said. I'm also collecting some demographic information and already with a small number of responses, I'm able to see trends in what's emerging.
You know, the split of people who are morning people, evening people, and for whom it varies. It's really fascinating to start understanding the variety through people's own self expression of who they are. As I gather more responses, I'll be sharing some of these observations. So definitely stay tuned for that, because it's very interesting.
I'm very curious about the correlation between some of the challenges that people experience and some of the way they identify and their relationship to flexibility and the need for autonomy. And I'm looking for correlation there. So we'll see what comes up. I'm going to invite you to share the Happy Space Work Style Profile.
Sharing your profile with others & the value of disclosure
First of all, to take it, to learn about yourself and what you need for your best performance, and then to consider sharing it, you know, share it with people that you think will benefit from it. And it's also if you're working in a team to consider sharing it with your team. And that's where the the next phase is going.
We're working on creating a succinct PDF output for that for the profile. Right now it comes back to you in a Google form email and it's a bit lengthy and difficult to digest. So we're working on developing that so we'll be able to have a shorter, more succinct output. So a leader. Could actually look at the work style profiles for the different members on the team and really start to understand.
And you can look at your teammates as well. And it's not going to be too hard to digest, maybe three, four pages per person. The other thing I want to let you know is I'm very aware of the sensitivities of disclosing personal information. I want you to think really carefully because there's always advantages and disadvantages to disclosure and it's going to really depend on your organization and the prevailing attitudes there.
So sharing is always always at your discretion. And I want to say I do recognize the bravery that it takes. I first experienced really strange neurological symptoms on my 45th birthday, and it took two years to get a diagnosis of MS. And in that time, I only spoke about it with a few family members and close friends.
It took at least five more years before I felt comfortable actually disclosing that my autoimmune illness was MS. I was really afraid that no one would hire me. That's proven to be A myth, and I've really, I can fast forward, tell you now, I'm very comfortable talking about it, and I can point to many benefits sharing.
Often I find it will make someone else more comfortable to talk about their own experience with the disease or share their shared experience with it, their family member, their friend, their cousin, their colleagues. MS touches many, many lives and I found immense benefit in sharing. So I just wanted to share both of those things when it comes to you sharing, it's completely, completely up to you.
I've sometimes talked about my MS when making an important point about respecting capacity in productivity workshops. Intimate information sharing really was powerful and I could see people stop and really take notice and then there was more sharing on their part. So it's really a powerful conversation starter to share and create that safe space.
I always say, tune in before you lean in. So really check in and definitely do what's best for you. The Happy Space Work Style Profile™ is a snapshot at this point in time. If you take it in six months or a year from now, things will have changed and that should be reflected in the profile.
So it's a really wonderful way to tune in. But it's not meant to be one and done. It's meant to be a tool that you continue to use and your team continues to use whenever there is a team member change or a significant life change, then the nuances necessary section will definitely change and maybe some of the other areas as well.
So it's worth revisiting.
Happy Space Total Team Work™ Program
Building on the work style profile is a program I'm offering to leaders and their immediate teams. So you can imagine groups of four to about 10 people at most. During the program, each team member is going to complete their profile and analysis of their key tasks. They're also going to be invited to deeply know their team members.
At the same time, the leader is going to receive one on one coaching because I have found in working with leaders that there's often nowhere to talk about these kinds of things. We're going to face biases that that leaders have and bias is there to serve us and help organize our world.
So there's absolutely nothing wrong to have a bias. It's normal, but let's talk about them and let's talk about the validity. Are they, do they really apply? Are they serving you? Are they perhaps tainting your perspective? Is there a way to look at the bias and better understand it? And that can sometimes be work that's difficult to do on your own and may not happen unless there's a conversation really inviting it in.
So that's part of the group as well. The team effort as well. And it supports a leader in examining their bias there and their needs as well as intentions for the group. The third part, which I'm really looking forward to is facilitating team meetings. And this is going to facilitate the team understanding, and it's also going to lead to a meeting where we co create the future of teamwork.
The program is called Total Team Work™. It implies everybody's involved and the team. Work is being designed together. So my belief is that while the outcomes are going to be meaningful, so we'll have a greater understanding of oneself and every team member, including the leader, we'll have more appropriate expectations of work styles.
Collaborating on a team with my kids
We'll have an increase in positive feelings toward more effective collaboration. So better feelings about collaboration and more effective collaboration. A high level plan about how, when, and where the team will work together, that's built by the team. This is, you know, grounded in the fact that when I had my kids, we're little and I, we had to make dinner, my then husband was studying for his CPA.
And going to night school. Essentially, I had a heavier load having my business and looking after the kids and we would have team prep dinners and I would have both kids on the other side of the counter, both with the cutting board, both with I got them plastic knives so they could cut things safely.
And we, we would do put dinner together. Together, and I knew that by them being involved in creating the meal, I saw that they were more apt to eat it and they were certainly more apt to eat it in their lunch the next day. So being involved in creating something makes you just so much more involved in the outcome.
So those are all the intended outcomes. The side effects though, I think are going to be amazingly powerful. There's going to be trust building. I'm imagining a reduction in the need for control coming out of the building and trust identification of bias, an increase in empathy and expression of compassion as we really truly understand each other.
Insights into motivation, what makes each employee really tick and what's important. Willingness to compromise, a huge one, that willingness to move towards each other. And identification of any skill building required to manage this abstract nature, this, this harder, hybrid is harder world. So in 2024, we'll be working with a limited number of organizations in the spring, really honing this program and getting it going and then looking to take it more broadly with a team of coaches.
Where to find Total Team Work Program, Work Style Profile and links
So if you know someone who is stuck in this stalemate, either employee or leader, let them know that help exists. And you can find the website pages for both the happy stuff, Happy Space® Work Style Profile and the Happy Space Total Team Work program are going to be in the show notes. They're on my website on the Clare Kumar.com site.
And if you know, a coach that might be interested in delivering this program, I'm building the roster of coaches and we'll be going through a program that will build the skill and delivering this program as well. And so I'll be interested in hearing from, both the service delivery and the potential client side, because I really think this is the moment where we really need to unlock this tension and have people talking together and really move forward so everyone can do great things and have those fulfilling lives that I was talking about.
I'm always interested in hearing how things are going in your world. So as always, please feel free to share a comment and social media at Clare Kumar, or come and connect with me on LinkedIn for sure. I'm posting there probably more often about these kinds of things than anywhere else. There is, of course, the Happy Space Pod, which is a group of over 500 like minded people. Many highly sensitive and many people all interested in productivity and inclusivity.
So you're very welcome to join us in that Facebook group. Just come to Happy Space Pod on Facebook and request and fill in the questions. And I'll be happy to let you in there. And I want to thank you.
I want to thank you for listening. I do want to encourage you to tune into upcoming episodes as we're having more guests on the leading edge of this conversation, joining me to explore how to create more inclusive, and productive organizations. Thank you. Thank you so much for joining me today and spending this time with me.
I hope you're as excited about this program as I am so that more and more people can really let their goodness flow into the world and really make a difference. All right. Thanks again for listening until next time. Take good care.