This post is intended as a list of techniques for running retrospectives focused around growing team and individual wellbeing, mental health and self care in your team.
These are designed to be the bulk of the retrospective allowing the team to gather data and discuss, taking away one or more action points.
The Stress container is a tool from Mental Health First Aid England. I have modified it to allow you to capture team stress levels, discuss what adds to team stress, helps the team relieve stress and what stops us from relieving that.
- Assess current stress level – Individuals to score and draw line between 0-100
- What adds stress to the team container
- What helps us release stress, the tap
- What blocks our stress relief
- Discuss and decide what to do
You can find here a mural board template for you to copy and use with your team: Mural Template
5 Ways Of Wellbeing
Developed by the New Economics Forum in the UK and adopted by Mind amongst others are a set of evidence-based messages aimed at improving mental health and wellbeing of the whole population, but I think these are particularly relevant to our teams.
The 5 ways are:
- Take Notice
- Be Active
The way to run this is to firstly introduce the concept to the team. It may be useful to have a read through the Mind post first. Then ask team members to place post its under each way of wellbeing representing ideas that the team could carry out in order to improve that way of wellbeing.
You could run this remotely via something like funretro.io or using an online white board.
Self Care Grid
I first came across this in the book Reflective Supervision Toolkit – Hewson and Carroll as a tool for coach supervision but again I think this would work as a really useful conversation structure for a retrospective.
Ask each person in the team to have a go at filling out the boxes using virtual/physical post its. You don’t have to put something in each box, it doesn’t matter if some don’t resonate. I can imagine some people may not be too comfortable filling in the spirituality column. I have changed the wording from “me” to “us” in the past and this works well to give it more team focus.
Again, don’t worry about filling the board much discussion will come from just a few post it notes. Then simply discuss with the team the post it notes,
- Look at how we could make the things which energise us better or do more of them
- How we could design strategies to help with the things which sap team energy
- Discuss potential actions from what would help energise me
- Think with the team about minimising and removing things which hold you back
Then take at least one action.
A really fun and useful retro which has received great feedback, the objective of this retrospective is to grow team empathy and understanding whilst generating ideas of how to improve. I think this fits well as one for team wellbeing as you have fun guessing others answers, and grow understanding of others within the team. When I run this I find the last two questions are particularly interesting as that’s where the team learns about each other and has more personal discussions.
This works well as a face to face retro but also as a remote retro using funretro.io in which you can hide the cards. You can read more about how to facilitate both below:
Manual of Me
If you haven’t seen a manual of me it is well worth reading about and doing with your team. The basic premise is writing or visually creating a manual for you, and how to work with you. This is great for working better as a team, especially in uncertain Covid times when anxieties and worries potentially put us under extra strain.
There are many different templates and questions which are answered so have a good search around and find the questions you think will work best for your team. Some example questions could be:
- Which activities give me energy?
- Which deplete me?
- What are my unique abilities?
- What do people misunderstand about me, and why?
- What’s the best way to communicate with me?
Online resource: https://www.manualof.me/
Spheres of Control – Circles and Soup
An established retrospective but very useful to grow team wellbeing. The objective is to get the team to focus on the things they can control and to direct energy towards those items and to try to spend less time and energy on the things they can’t control.
Time permitting I will do another post around polling and different fun methods.