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Adrien Chignard

We are currently seeing a lot of interest around managing burnout within teams. The difficulty employees face in trying to maintain a good balance in life, carry very heavy loads (work, mental and emotional) – especially in companies that have had to maintain normal productivity, and the lack of effective social support largely explain the phenomenon. Preparing these people for a return to work cannot be improvised. That’s why

Troubled times give birth to individuals with valuable personality profiles: the “positive deviants”. They are known to transgress the rules and push past established norms for the good of all. They contribute enormously to innovation by deviating from existing habits without knowing much about why they were so ineffective. The period we are going through gives us the opportunity to innovate around our approach to work. But we don’t

I’ve often been asked if I have any advice on how to structure the psychological approach to post-lockdown. I hereby invite you to utilise the “RARE” method: – Recognize: sensitize teams to be able to detect weak signs shown by people in psychological distress (a secondary prevention technique) – Act: teach teams how to start a conversation with someone showing signs of distress – using the right tone –

Many people will be experiencing painful emotions in the times to come. For some this will manifest as fear and guilt; for others, shame at not being able to meet performance expectations. Asking these people to “make an effort” or “smile a little” has a name in psychology: surface acting. Very damaging, this request to act “as if” everything was going well creates emotional dissonance and weakens commitment, well-being

At the end of a webinar a manager told me: “Some of my employees feel guilty for not being able to manage everything at once: teleworking, their children, household tasks… I would like to help them, but I don’t know how”. Guilt is an emotion that is as unpleasant as it is useful: it appears when we feel we have caused harm and urges us to remedy it. However,

We haven’t all experienced lockdown in the same way. Some have felt indispensable, others useless. And others have lacked recognition because teleworking has rendered their contribution invisible. These differences naturally give rise to tensions like mutual stereotyping, disintegration of teams and declining performance. How can these be avoided? Psychology’s solution is the “superordinate goal”, i.e. a goal that can only be achieved through the active participation of each member

Have you ever heard of the “bystander effect”? In psychology it is the phenomenon that the more people there are in a place, the less likely any one individual is to help someone in trouble. It is basically due to a dilution of responsibility (there are lots of people; someone else is bound to help on my behalf). When coming out of lockdown, many employees will experience bouts of

Are you familiar with the concept “locus of control”? In psychology, it’s the way we determine the cause of what happens to us. We can divide ourselves into two categories: – The “internals”: what happens to me depends on me… if I fail it’s my fault. These people progress more quickly in their careers but go through intense phases of guilt and self-questioning. – The “externals”: what happens to

The current situation is exceptional for everyone and that includes managers. Assuming one’s managerial responsibility means explaining the reasoning behind decisions that are misunderstood or poorly received by one’s colleagues whenever possible, and apologizing wherever mistakes have been made. While it is normally legitimate to expect exemplary behaviour from managers, calls for excellence in the current crisis are as futile as examples of leniency are essential.

We’re not all going to come back with the same emotional charge at the end of lockdown. Some will have spent their time enjoying the first rays of spring sunshine while others will have been cooped up with their children and stifling workload. Still others will have been exposed on the front-line on a daily basis. Taking time out at the end of lockdown to ensure a coordinated response

Imagining life after Covid-19 is not easy. One may feel rather stuck in this exceptional period and emotionally depleted. The situation calls for us to forgo a cognitive bias called “availability heuristics”; that is our tendency to have our thoughts consumed by which is directly in front of us. Indulging our availability heuristic inhibits both present-day creativity and positive future projections. The good news is that you just have

Do you know what it means to have a “sense of coherence”? In psychology, it is a characteristic of people who are healthy, live longer, are happier in the different spheres of their lives and perform better at work. People with this characteristic are defined as follows: – they perceive the world as understandable – they have confidence in their resources (physical, psychological, social…) to cope with difficulties –

Are you familiar with “toxic handlers”? These are people who have the ability to “absorb” the stress triggered by crises and limit the impact of it on their colleagues. These empathetic qualities will prove essential in the transition out of lock-down, enabling these people to: – quickly identify colleagues in difficulty – listen and soothe with compassion and respect – take action around finding effective solutions How do you

Do you know what anticipatory anxiety is? In psychology it is the pervasive fear of an event to come. At the moment, many employees are apprehensive about coming out of isolation and returning to work because of the risks of contamination. Avoidance behaviours will appear such as refusal to shake hands, refusal to take the elevator together, self-isolation in open spaces etc. These are all essential subjects to raise

Together with his team, the “sensemaker” manager will intentionally try to make sense of the exceptional situation. To transform the crisis into an opportunity for growth, he differentiates 3 dimensions of sense. These are: – A feeling: what did we feel? – A meaning: what does it mean for us? – A direction: where do we go from here? In the “sensemaker managers” workshops that I lead, we learn

Three types of managers will emerge at the end of lockdown: – The aggressive type: he’ll discredit the difficulties experienced by everyone by demanding a focus on performance alone: “no more twiddling your thumbs, I want everyone 100% on sales.” He will come out looking brutal and will be despised by his team. – The avoidant type: he’ll pretend that nothing happened for fear of delving into the real

Attempting to manage a team through an exceptional situation using conventional management methods will lead to great disappointment. Sensemaking invites us to uncover symbols within each person’s experience to bring collective meaning to this event. Don’t: say things like “the past is the past; now it’s time to focus on the numbers so we can catch up.” This deprives the team of an opportunity to create a stronger sense

Do you know the term “sensemaking”? In psychology it is one of the most effective techniques for restoring well-being and performance after an exceptional crisis. It is based on a particular form of management used to facilitate a healthy return to work. Let’s begin with phase 1: recognize that what happened was an ordeal for all members of your team. Don’t: joke around, such as by saying: “how was

There is no greater loneliness than the loneliness we feel in the presence of others, especially when those others are our loved ones. Almost everyone has experienced this feeling of strangeness in a familiar universe and it is frightening. It’s actually a sign of a temporary anxiety that psychologists call depersonalization or derealization. Don’t panic if it happens to you. We are living in an exceptional period of uncertainty,

Remote management is complicated, especially when it comes to detecting an employee in difficulty. Here is a simple technique to identify employees who are in trouble – the “3i” rule: – Isolation: when employees are less present at meetings and check-ins with their managers, or don’t speak as much as usual. – Irritability: when they quickly become tense and show increased sensitivity as manifested by anger, crying or annoyance.

Psychology distinguishes four types of justice at work. The one that creates the most altruistic and performance-enhancing behaviour is procedural justice: I understand and am involved in decisions that have an impact on my daily life. How do you bring this about? By actively participating in decision-making rather than participating in decisions that have already been made! Putting an end to purely ‘formal’ consultations requires a little effort but

What recognition can you offer your employees who are working remotely when the results are not as good as usual? Psychology invites us to dissociate recognition both from the results themselves and from the time of their achievement. A manager who says, “I know it’s difficult for you right now with your children at home. Thank you for your effort, it’s precious to me and is a real credit

Did you know that referring to ‘engagement’ at work is pretty limited? In psychology there are in fact three distinct forms of engagement: The emotional engagement that all companies favour: I stay because I love my company/ job/mission. This works miracles when everything is going well but is disastrous at any other time. The normative: I stay because I am loyal. This is the expression of a “corporate” mentality.

In the middle of working on my next conference “How to pass on a difficult message with respect and kindness?”, I’m interested in testing out your knowledge on the different forms of “pathy”: empathy, sympathy, antipathy and apathy. If a friend says to me: “Adrien, I’m afraid that the lockdown will last for a long time” and I answer: “you have no reason to worry, it will end one

To start the week on a positive note, here’s a psychology technique for giving someone a compliment or positive feedback: the SIISI method. Good feedback is : Sincere: what I say is true to me and I am honest when I say it. Immediate: my message comes right after the other person’s behaviour. Involved: I involve myself by using “I”. Specific: it concerns a specific fact and not a

Right now we are all learning new ways of operating. But novelty consumes a lot of energy, and our attentional resources are limited. If our cognitive faculties are being used for adapting to the situation, they are no longer available to perform at their peak when teleworking, doing domestic tasks or interacting with our children. So I urge you not to feel guilty if you don’t feel perfect right

Are you ending the weeks tired, with brain overload? The mental load resulting from telework is the consequence of multiple tasks not completed or lacking their usual quality. How can you minimise this effect, enjoy your weekend and be back on form Monday morning? I invite you to declare Friday afternoon a protected zone. No meetings, no conference calls, no emails… only time dedicated to baseline tasks with a