Monotony, Mental Mutiny and the Power of Variety

Published on May 12, 2020

I feel there’s an overabundance of information barraging us on one particular topic these days. I shall refer to as “C-19”. The reason for the abridged version is just seeing it spelled out completely has a triggering effect on me! The amount of information seemingly communicated by the minute on this subject matter can be exhausting to take in. No matter how important all the info shared is, it has become monotonous. When I look at anything with “C-19” in the subject line, I am finding myself treating it as spam. My brain is screaming, “Please, no more”; a form of mental mutiny.

Much of our life can become monotonous. I’ve spoken to many people working from home who barely know what day of the week it is. They claim to go through the same motions each day with weekdays and weekends blending. Distinct delineation between work and home environments was a blessing I didn’t appreciated until it was no longer an option. I’ve learned to embrace variety as a way to shake things up and make my day more interesting.

Here are a few things I am doing differently to spice things up:

1.      Virtual Meetings – Don’t let a zoom meeting happen without doing something out of the ordinary. Put an interesting starter question out there for all to answer, “spin the wheel” and rotate who will chair the next department meeting or maybe ask a couple of people to share about a personal item they have in the room they’re zooming from.

2.      Communication – Check in with people in a caring manner. Texting someone who just happened to pop into your mind with a lighthearted message that you’re thinking of them; it can make their day. Why not send a video message to your team or perhaps a vlog to the whole company with the weekly update rather than sending a stale and impersonal email? When did you last hand-write a thank you card and sent it by snail mail to an employee’s home address?

3.      Change the Format – The way we do things can make a difference. If you are looking for feedback, don’t ask the whole group to collectively respond to a general inquiry. Instead, consider using the “Start, Stop, Continue” exercise. Have individuals share what they think the company should start doing that is new or different. Then ask them to respond to what they feel they (or the company) should stop doing that may be a waste of time and/or resources. Finally, let them spotlight and affirm the positive things they feel should continue. I have never been disappointed (nor have those who have participated) with the impact from this exercise no matter when we’ve chosen to use it.

4.      Take of the Armor – People have come to expect a certain list of traits and behaviors from leadership. Vulnerability is not typically among the top five! When a leader shares something personal about themselves, they are connecting at a much different level and the reaction from team members can be powerful. Transparency is well known to build trust between people. It’s vulnerability, however, that introduces intimacy which can take trust through the roof. Are you willing to change the dynamic of your relationships by going at least one step deeper when sharing your true self with others?

See LinkedIn Article