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Weird Dynamics of Today's Workplace

In today's fast changing workplaces, business leadership needs to adapt to stay agile. It's through more effectively understanding, adapting, and thriving that will increasingly separate success from failure.

The modern workplace is a complex ecosystem, shaped by rapid technological advancements, shifting cultural norms, and evolving expectations. Navigating its peculiar dynamics requires a blend of adaptability, empathy, and a willingness to embrace change. Lets explore some of the weird dynamics of today's workplace, along with tips, exercises, and references to help individuals and organizations thrive in this ever-changing landscape.

Weird Dynamics Explained:

Remote Work Revolution: The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of remote work, transforming traditional office dynamics. Remote work offers flexibility but also brings challenges such as communication barriers and feelings of isolation. High performing teams don't just happen! To adapt, prioritize clear and more proactive communications, explicitly discuss group expectations, establish regular check-ins, and leverage collaboration tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams.

Gig Economy: The rise of the gig economy has redefined traditional employment models, with more people opting for freelance or contract work. Increasingly, businesses will seamlessly weave employees, contractors, and other stakeholders into project teams for various durations. While freelancing offers autonomy, it also requires self-discipline and a proactive approach which are skills external contractors can bring into your business. Contractors also have larger networks to knowledge and are more focused on continuously upgrading skills to stay competitive.

Emphasis on Diversity and Inclusion: Diversity and inclusion have become integral aspects of workplace culture, but navigating these dynamics requires more than just ticking boxes. Regardless of ever changing legal requirements, the power of including a larger number of diverse views from stakeholders and the operating environment, the more informed choices and decisions become. Foster open dialogue, actively listen to diverse perspectives, and proactively create discussion and thinking spaces. Advocating for inclusive policies and practices helps create psychological safety which improves engagement, attraction, retention, and more effective working relationships.

Tech Dominance: Technology continues to reshape how work is done, with automation and AI becoming increasingly prevalent. AI is already shifting the productivity of many workplaces. Just like personal computers, cell phones, spreadsheets, websites, emails, and other technologies have had massive impacts on how work is done, AI will continue this shift. Change is a certainty so embrace lifelong learning, stay updated on emerging technologies, and be open to upskilling or reskilling as needed to remain relevant.

Focus on Mental Health: Mental health awareness has gained traction in the workplace, but there's still a stigma attached to discussing mental health issues. Break the stigma by normalizing conversations around mental health, practicing self-care techniques, and seeking support when needed.

4 Tips for Navigating Weird Dynamics:

  1. Cultivate Adaptability: Embrace change and remain flexible in the face of uncertainty. Develop a growth mindset that views challenges as opportunities for learning and growth. Develop more of a learning mindset by reading and applying the insights from Change Your Questions, Change Your Life.

  2. Foster Connection: Whether in a physical office or remote setting, prioritize building meaningful relationships with colleagues. Schedule virtual coffee chats, participate in team-building activities, and show empathy towards your coworkers. Life is all about relationships and no one can grow a business on their own!

  3. Prioritize Well-being: Make self-care a priority by establishing boundaries between work and personal life, taking regular breaks, and engaging in activities that promote mental and physical well-being. In his book, Your Oxygen Mask First, Kevin Lawrence provides some insights about high achievers and exercises to get you going.

  4. Seek Feedback: Actively seek feedback from peers, managers, and mentors to identify areas for improvement and growth. Most don't ask for feedback and miss many important opportunities for professional growth. A regular practice of personal reflection provides one of the most powerful ways to learn and make better choices.

3 Tools & Exercises:

  1. Reflect on Your Values: Take time to identify your core values and how they align with your career, life, and purpose. It's only with this insight and awareness can you make informed decisions about how you spend your time, priorities, professional focus and the type of workplace culture you thrive in. Try out the AWS Values Exercise!

  2. Practice Empathy: Empathy is the glue that holds our interactions together. Put yourself in someone else's shoes and consider their perspective when faced with challenging situations: Stop, Think, Respond, instead of reacting. Practice active listening and strive to understand different viewpoints. 85% of what we learning is through listening, not talking!

  3. Develop New Skills: Identify areas where you'd like to grow professionally and seek out opportunities to develop those skills. Try out the world's most used self-assessment of behavior (DISC) to help get clarity where to focus your time and effort. Personal and professional development could involve taking online courses, attending workshops, participating in cross-functional projects, working with a leadership coach, or trying new activities.

Navigating the weird dynamics of today's workplace requires a combination of adaptability, empathy, and a commitment to lifelong learning. By embracing change, fostering connection, prioritizing well-being, and continuously seeking growth opportunities, individuals and organizations can thrive in the ever-evolving landscape of work.

Jerome Dickey, MA, PCC


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