Look, Listen, Connect – Tools for Team Wellbeing

As a Scrum Master it is important to be aware of the wellbeing of the team, how are the individuals feeling? It is your job to nurture a sustainable self organising team. This blog is about being able to recognise team members in distress (Look), knowing how to have a conversation (Listen) and then knowing what to recommend next (Connect).

 

Look, Listen, Connect is a reminder for Scrum Masters to look for symptoms of stress in your teams, to approach stressed team members with listening and then to connect the individual to support and to the team.

 

Look for warning signs

Listen to the Person

Connect them to others

 

Look

 

Firstly Look, notice the subtle queues from the individuals in your team that they are feeling stressed. The following list of mental health warning signs, it is not exhaustive. Every individual will respond differently to stress and exhibit different behaviours.

  • Change in normal behaviour – eg unpredictability, uncharacteristic behaviours, mood swings
  • Loss of pleasure in work
  • In ability to focus or concentrate; forgetfulness, lateness
  • Anxiety
  • Withdrawing – Less contact with colleagues
  • “Workaholism”
  • Increased Cynacism, overgeneralised negative beliefs
  • Increased reactivity and loss of perspective in work
  • Irritability/Impatience
  • Change in appearance.
  • Absenteeism – Sickness
  • arguments
  • Decreased performance – loss of motivation, commitment and confidence
  • Complaints and grievances
  • Consuming more alcohol, caffeine or other substances

 

Listen

 

Conversation

Before you have a conversation find out what support your organisation provides for example an Employee Assistance Program, Mental Health First Aiders are generally available at most reasonable sized organisations. If you are not comfortable talking to the person, a first step could be to consult with a Mental Health First Aider.

 

Let the individual know of your concerns gently but directly, and ask if he or she feels distressed. Ask about the individuals feelings and be accepting and non-judgemental with their answers. Listen, listen, and listen some more, don’t interrupt.

 

It is important to know your limits as a helper. You may find that you are unable to provide the help needed or do not feel comfortable trying to help someone cope with his or her problems. At this point don’t attempt to rescue them, this isn’t all on you.

 

Connect

 

One of the Mind 5 ways of wellbeing is “Connect”. Connect the individual to the support your organisation has available to you. Signpost that information to them, suggest you could help them get in touch.

 

Also think about how you could help that person connect in the team. Could you run retrospectives which build team bonding. Could you suggest introducing pairing? How could you be a friend to this person? In these remote working times could you invoke the Swedish FIKA, some regular time for cake. More practical ideas coming soon in Pt2.

 

Look for warning signs

Listen to the Person

Connect them to others

 

https://www.mind.org.uk/workplace/mental-health-at-work/taking-care-of-yourself/five-ways-to-wellbeing/

5 steps to help a friend in distress

https://www.safeathopkins.org/emotional-distress/response-options/helping-someone-in-distress/

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