Whatever that is happening around us, the show must go on. Life must go on, and how nice it would be to work from home – the very dream we all had when we were ‘stuck’ in the office. Now, we find ourselves at home, not alone; but with everyone! And you think, I have my work tasks to manage (and look at all those household tasks!), my unsatisfied needs to manage (stability, freedom, peace), and on top of that the needs and demands of everyone else in the family (food, safety, entertainment, education, connection and the list goes on)! How do I survive the entire circuit breaker period??
And perhaps now is the time to step back and reflect – How have I been managing it and how coordinated have we been as a family?
Family & Team DynamicsIn the workplace, we question how well we work as a team to achieve goals, and what else we can do to make it a better place for all of us since we spend so much time there. Now the work environment has changed, and where work is concerned, it is taking the whole notion of teamwork beyond physical boundaries to the virtual space. Yay, new skillset! But let us refocus. The point is that you have teamwork experience. Let us see how we can apply it to the home setting. Do you remember Belbin’s nine team roles?
Rethink our Family Roles
Questions first. What is the role that you tend to be playing or have been playing? Have you been carrying everything upon yourself or not contributing at all? How can we be more engaged and also engage our family members in this period?
Here, we present the first five steps for doing so, and you can enlist the support of another person in the family to get it started. Over time, you might see the inclinations of each family member for specific roles and have them step up and take ownership. Talk about empowering people and supporting one another for growth. It is never too early for anyone to start learning about teamwork!
Step 1 – Coordinator & Shaper: Set an Intention
Let us face it. Some things are just not working out around the household at this point and we need the effort of everybody to make a change. Anyone can take on this role to initiate a family meeting to share some observations on what has been happening and rally everyone to do something about it. Anyone may be aware of what is not working and can challenge the norm of how things are being carried out. Sitting down for a family meeting to get conversations going and have everyone be aligned is surely the first step of harmonising.
Note: Everyone needs to be involved because we are a family and that is what being family is about. We stick together through thick and thin and work things out. It is the individual responsibility to the family.
Step 2 – Team Worker & Specialist: Share & Listen Respectfully
Everyone is struggling and no one is unique in having issues. When the things you have to handle is bigger than you can imagine, you tend to focus a lot more on your needs. However, everyone has needs and we request that everyone zoom out a little bit so that we can all be there as family for one another. Being there for one another demands that we listen without judgment as we provide one another with the space to share and vent. It involves acknowledging the challenges that we each face without imposing our subjective views. Listen and avert friction.
This is the perfect time to engage on a deeper level with family members as we bring each other into our respective worlds and share with them authentically and vulnerably the key issues we are dealing with, and the support we seek. Every individual is a specialist of their own feelings, needs and experience. Many a time, everyone just needs time and space to process their inner world.
Note: Be at one with all the emotions that are surfacing. Give time for words to sink in and feelings to settle. Do not react based on emotions. Instead, take note of everyone’s needs and focus on the objective of the family meeting – to work things through together.
Step 3: Resource Investigator & Plant: Support with Possibilities
When things get tough, the tough gets going; and one way is to increase optimism when we see and share possibilities. When we get stuck in a challenge, we some times cannot see an alternative way out. However, with the power and support of the family, we can brainstorm ideas together. For each issue that was highlighted in step 2, we can brainstorm new ways of approaching it and also share ways that others we know have approached it. All this while, be sure to avoid the words “You should”. Use phrases like “Perhaps you could” or “Here are some things you might like to try”.
Note: Supporting others is not the same as imposing your way of doing things. Even as family members, we need to respect that we each have our own way of thinking and doing. Instead of telling them what and how to do, share with them the possibilities and let them decide on their own.
Step 4: Monitor Evaluator & Implementer: Converging to a Plan
Depending on the issues and ideas raised, the family can evaluate the options together and figure out the best strategy moving forward. Some trade-offs might have to be made to achieve the intention. Here is where we may recognise the strengths of everyone within the household and empower everyone to be able to take ownership and implement.
Alternatively, each individual is to weigh up the options presented, internalise it and share a personal strategy that they will be taking. They can also enlist the help of anyone required for their plan. In verbalising it, they become more committed to their plan of action.
Step 5: Complete Finisher & Coordinator: Action & Accountability
Finally, ensure that everyone’s needs have been addressed and objectives have been met. Here, you might want to take on the additional step of ensuring everyone knows what they need to do and discussing how everyone would stay committed to their actions. Then, appreciate one another and positively reinforce one another, before agreeing on the time for the next family conversation. Then, push forth with the workable strategy mentioned in step 4 and implement it.
The nine team roles work well in teams in the workplace, it can work well at home too. As family members, let us understand each other better, communicate, empathise and support one another through this period. Let us kickstart the process and take on more team roles within the family. Let us stay #familyunited.
You are never too young to learn and never too old to change - President Thomas S. Monson
Shamantha Yan is cofounder and an ICF Certified Coach and trainer of Growthbeans. She is also an Emotional Intelligence and Cultural Intelligence coach, Emergenetics and ACTA certified and a Reiki Practitioner. She is also Director of Savoir Asia Consulting Pte Ltd.