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The last 2 years have taught me... Everyone is out for the same thing.

Everyone wants to be 'Appreciated' and 'Supported'.

But no one has ever taken the time to think about what that means to them, define it, flesh it out, put some meat on their 'appreciated' and 'supported' bones.

No one has asked themselves how that manifests, and what would help them perceive more support, or detect more appreciation.

We all just bumble along in life thinking… this must be it.

Working for the suits. 9-5.

Getting paid, to be able to feed the kids and the dog, and getting up on a Monday to do it all again.

Don’t get me wrong there are plenty of people that love their jobs, love what they do and are passionate about that start of the week alarm.

But what is overwhelmingly evident in the last 2 years of my journey to become a Pro-Rider in the Riders and Elephants Emotional Culture Deck community, is that people feel they need to be more supported and appreciated to be successful in their work.

Having run almost 40 initial Emotional Culture workshops (across different industries, demographics, and geographical locations), 78% of all individual teams have collectively decided that feeling 'Supported' is in their Top 5 most important emotions in the workplace, while 'Appreciated' is represented in 63% of teams lists. These numbers dwarf the rest on the list, with the third and fourth most important feelings, 'Connected' and 'Confident' coming in at 44% and 41% respectively.

Now… I am not saying…

Businesses and Leaders are purposely ignoring their people, not explaining their value or giving them the encouragement or assistance, that they need every day.

I know this is not intentional.

I believe the reason supported and appreciated pop up time and time again, is that people don’t understand what those emotions look like to them.

People haven’t sat down and methodically and consciously thought…

“While I am working on this project, what would it look like to me if I was being appreciated and/or supported by my boss.”

Is that a physical pat on the back or a high-five on completion?

Is it a 1:1 check-in each week to ensure I have everything I need?

Is it being given the opportunity to work remotely?

Is it knowing that if ask a question, my boss will always take the time to answer?

Is it beers on a Friday?

How can a leader help someone feel something they can’t explain or define themselves?

And in turn, how can we lead appropriately for the people in our team without asking them the question.

For example:

‘Appreciation’ is the recognition of the good qualities of someone or something. Leaders might be demonstrating this as a simple thank you for a job well done, whereas a team member might feel like appreciation could only be shown with a pay-rise to match inflation.

While ‘Supported’ to a leader might be weekly 1:1’s and checking in regularly regarding their workload, while a team member might feel supported by them means taking the time to ask them about their weekend spent nursing their ill parent.

I have heard time and time again from leaders, "Well we…

  • Put on a morning tea for them…

  • Organised free yoga classes, and

  • Gave them a hamper at Christmas.

Why don’t they feel supported or appreciated?"

A big part of the last 2 years has been understanding the disconnect.

Identifying the way we all want to work together doesn’t happen overnight, we have to ask the questions, take the time and understand what drives each person.

Even though, we all want to feel appreciated and supported.

Everyone is not the same.

We don’t all operate with the same lenses on life.

Teams that create environments and space for vulnerable conversations and storytelling support deeper connections and less disconnect.

Instead of assuming that beers after work on a Friday is going to make the team feel appreciated and supported, how about asking them?

As leaders (it may come as a surprise, but) we don’t have to have all the answers!

Use the amazing brains of your team to come up with solutions that suit them, their needs and their understanding of what those emotions look like to them.

It might be beers on a Friday, but equally, it might be actually going home on time…

Ask the question.

Here are a few ways you can learn more about The Emotional Culture Deck:


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