The Happy Healthy Leader Team Program
This organisation is a growing professional services practice with 49 employees, who range in experience from new graduates to 30 years professional experience, including 8 partners. This organisation had recent issues with unexpected staff turnover (voluntary and involuntary) which was negatively impacting financial performance. As a result, the General Manager of People and Performance (GMPP) approached Margie Ireland, to develop a program that could address these issues. Following preliminary assessment, a 12-month intervention program was implemented across two leadership teams.
Key short-term benefits:
- Team workshops and coaching resulted in retaining three valued employees.
- Most employees had greater self-awareness of how negative self-talk can negatively influence their behaviour and performance as an individual, and as part of a team.
- The Managing Director and General Manager reported that new language taught to recognise feelings, provided a way for people to share when feeling stressed. This helped managers/leaders intervene sooner while increasing trust amongst some teams.
- Two teams in particular established trust which resulted in faster conflict resolution, faster decision making and less gossip. This also enabled employees to focus on important tasks and goals.
- The GM believed that educating all employees on -rater feedback resulted in acceptance on receiving and acting on feedback.
- Identifying that burnout is being experienced by up to a third of employees and needed immediate intervention.
- Having one person (i.e., internal coach) across individual coaching and group sessions meant that Margie had background information regarding conflict between employees. The GM believed this to be an advantage to have HR/Management? intervene / improve staff relations sooner and was the key reason why the group results improved, and why three employees were retained.
Key long-term benefits:
- A model (Matrix for Teams) was formulated that has proven to reduce voluntary staff turnover.
- Staff were engaged with the coaching process
- Acceptance of feedback allows the introduction of 360-degree feedback in the Happy Healthy Leader framework, and beyond to embed a process that is seen as a constructive process to support employee performance.
- An innovative framework was developed. Once embedded employees became self-sufficient in working through stressful periods, either individually or in their teams. Under the framework, behaviours such as gossip was not acceptable – instead addressing issues directly became the new norm, positively influencing organisational performance. These factors have the potential to reduce involuntary staff turnover.
- Employees given the knowledge on how to identify and assess for early signs of stress, in themselves and others. This knowledge is underpinned with a culture that fosters trust amongst employees so that so that burnout is no longer reported.
As a result of the successful implementation of the Happy, Healthy Leadership program, the organisation decided to continue with Margie for a second six-month term, with the key aim to embed the learnings and frameworks from the first program. This would to ensure they became part of the organisation’s culture.
Now a few years on the MD and GMPP have reported continuing to use the Happy Healthy Leadership Program strategies to keep themselves and their leadership team on track.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, leaders have also had to navigate new ways of connecting with their direct reports and colleagues. This has required further changes not only in operations but also in mindset. For example, replicating a two-hour face-to-face meeting to a two- hour video call meeting is not the same as it can be exhausting for many and adds to their stress. The Happy Healthy Leadership Program is continuing to help leaders overcome a sometimes fixed mindset of how they formally led a team and bringing them towards a new and often more effective approach.
Margie Ireland is a registered Psychologist (MAPS, COPS), Leadership Coach, Workshop Facilitator, Speaker and Author, who helps Leaders and their teams navigate stress and change with healthier coping strategies, leading to happier, healthier and high-performing teams. For more information visit www.margieireland.com