3 SHIFT insights we shared at PwC’s Rise Up

Last week, SHIFT was invited to PwC’s Rise Up Summit, a global event that showcased innovative approaches to helping companies get through the pressures of the pandemic. 

Brenna Donoghue
July 20, 2021

Last week, SHIFT was invited to PwC's Rise Up Summit, a global event that showcased innovative approaches to helping companies get through the pressures of the pandemic. 

This was far more than a demo of our new Resilient Teams Toolkit, which we launched in response to teams’ changing needs during the crisis—it was also an opportunity to explore the urgency to support struggling managers and teams in this moment and help them cope with the challenges ahead. 

Based on hundreds of conversations with managers and leaders, we shared three important insights that we think should be on every leader’s radar right now:

  1. Managers feel stuck in a Compassion vs. Productivity Trade-off. A majority of managers are concerned about their team’s wellbeing and want to be supportive and accommodating. Yet, in most cases, they are still expected to deliver outputs and results. Or as one manager put it “I know their kids are home from school and they’re struggling to juggle it all. But the VP still expects us to deliver against our goals.” These managers are feeling pressure from all directions.

We’ve seen that when managers show understanding and acceptance of their team’s decreased productivity, trust rises, stress declines, and in return productivity soars.  

  1. Hero managers can’t run on adrenaline forever. In the first weeks of the crisis, teams under ‘hero’ managers rallied and were surprisingly effective. These managers were picking up their team’s slack, volunteering for new initiatives, and cheerleading their stressed and struggling teams. Now, months into the crisis, these managers are burning out and desperate to share the burden.

When these teams have an open conversation in which they share their struggles and feelings, they’re able to identify how they can better support one another and take on more responsibility, helping to distribute leadership and reduce the burden on their manager.

  1. Teams need to help solve life problems. Most teams are accustomed to tackling business problems together. Yet as the barriers between work and life are falling, they can’t blindly ignore their colleagues’ life struggles. Most of us are operating in a state of heightened stress, and rather than bottling that up, we need to share it with our teammates. 

This may feel uncomfortable at first, but we find that when team members share how they’re really doing, people are far more willing to help out, pick up slack, and check-in on one another. In contrast, on those teams that leave feelings to fester, resentments build and cohesion frays.  

Matt Petrilla from Vanguard, a long-time SHIFT client presented with us, and captured this moment best:

“This pandemic has reinforced how important the team as a unit is. Everyone is being tested right now, but the stronger your team foundations, the better you are to handle what comes down the road, even if you can’t predict it.”

Thanks to PwC for featuring SHIFT. If you want to learn more about how you can help bring your team together at this critical juncture, be it to help them feel heard, to share the load, and support one another, we have you covered. Try SHIFT"s Team Resilience Builder free.

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