What to do after you have received your team’s well-being results. Specifically, what your role is in guiding your team's well-being forward, and what your role is not.
Firstly, it is important to note that the well-being of a team is a shared responsibility. It is not the sole responsibility of you as a Team Lead. It is also not an assessment of you or your leadership skills. It is simply a snapshot of your team’s well-being within the past few weeks and may or may not be related to things within your control.
Your role in your team’s well-being
You are mainly responsible for holding space for well-being conversations. Holding space means you create an atmosphere where well-being conversations can happen safely - in both 1-on-1s and in a group setting, for example in your team well-being retro. You can find a step-by-step guide of how to have this conversation in your Team Path - look for the suggested exercise called ‘team well-being retro’. For now, remember, the most important step is to set aside some time to review your team results and be ready to discuss them openly and without judgment.
You are also responsible for understanding what is within your control or influence as a Team Lead and what is outside of them. What is within your control or influence could look like rethinking how and when the team connects:
- through weekly mental health check-ins before the team meetings,
- designing a buddy system to support new colleagues,
- designing a team work schedule and establishing “no calls Mondays”, or another scheduled block for focus work or breaks - whatever makes sense for your team,
- establishing a “kudos” Slack channel, or another kind of regular celebratory moments,
- proactively bringing more structure and clarity to your team while the company goes through any major transition,
- discussing alignment of each person’s own goals with the goals of the team in 1-on-1s or other relevant conversations.
The point is that you have influence over anything relating to team dynamics. But you also don’t need to implement a million changes all at once. Just try to land on a couple ideas that work for your team and try them out for a couple months to see if they help!
Finally, you are responsible for recognizing what is outside of your area of influence and:
- naming it,
- acknowledging it,
- and seeking relevant help inside or outside your team or your organization as is appropriate.
If you are unsure how or where to ask for help, start internally within your organization - i.e., HR, your People or EAP team, your direct manager, or maybe another trusted senior leader.
If this is not possible, you can also turn to outside support, such as external coaches, therapists, or other relevant mental health professionals.
What your role is NOT
At Quan, we know from experience that as a Team Lead you want to see your team succeed. Are you saying to yourself, “I can do more!”? We get it. So let’s look at what your role is not so that you don’t take on more than you need to.
- It is not your responsibility to give your team members personal life advice, or coach them through a breakup.
- You are not a stress coach, nor a nutritionist, nor a doctor.
As their manager, you might see a team member struggling with their personal lives, and may want to jump into problem-solving mode with the best intentions. However, helping your team does not mean you need to“fix” their personal problems.
Working from home has also made it very difficult for some people to separate work and personal life - and has left many people asking themselves whether they should be separate in the first place. But listening and embracing your team’s personal lives as part of their well-being is not the same as giving personal advice.
This might not be easy. We all want to help and it can be hard to not problem-solve. The thing is, you can’t know for sure if you’re going to help or not, and that often means the best thing to do is to honor the boundaries of your role.
Don’t get us wrong though… We’re not saying that you shouldn’t open up about your family, or your pets, or exciting and important personal events, or in any way discourage your colleagues from bringing their whole selves to work if that’s what they choose to do. We just want you to understand and embrace that it’s also okay to just listen, acknowledge it - “I hear that this is difficult”, and then ask if and how they would like you or the team to help.
If they have an answer, great. If not, that’s also ok. Maybe they need some time to think about it, and can come back with an idea. Or maybe they don’t expect anything from you at all.
Sometimes just listening and helping people feel heard is enough.