Is your team emotional…? I hope so.

At a recent Bird resilience workshop, after we’d encouraged attendees to practice being emotionally aware, an individual approached me for a chat.

Frustrated, she shared that her particular organisation doesn’t allow for emotional awareness. In her organisation there wasn’t space for staff to process the intense project they had just worked on, there was just an expectation for team members to suck it up and continue with the job.

This information angered me. It reminded me of my own experiences of working in voluntary organisations where there wasn’t the space, awareness or infrastructure for us to really process the emotions that came up with the work.

This conversation showed me how much work there is still to do around wellbeing and resilience in the not-for-profit sector. We still have boards, managers, and colleagues who expect us to ‘just get on with it’, to present to others that everything is fine all the time.

When we do that, when we pretend that we aren’t emotional beings, and we do incredibly challenging work, the stress and emotion come out anyway, but in unhealthy ways. We end up drinking our way through the emotion, we end up flying off the handle with colleagues or our families, we get sick and we burn out.

No one can avoid the inevitable emotional response that will come up for anyone working in the not-for-profit sector. But what we can do, is give our people permission to process the emotion in a healthy way.

This looks like, colleagues being equipped with a language that they can use to support each other. This looks like organisational acceptance if someone needs to work from home for the afternoon, or take time off for a couple of days to re-coup. This looks like organisations offering staff workshops or 1:1 support where staff can properly identify what’s coming up for them, and how they want to move forward.

Some organisations are doing an incredible job, as our articles on Civil Society Media share. Furthermore, the many organisations that ask us to come and work with their staff are understanding the need for resilience and want to equip their teams with ways to grow and self-care.

There is no point being a charitable organisation where helping humanity is a priority, if we are running our own people into the ground in the process. We must prioritise the resilience and self-care of staff in this sector. It’s essential for the sector to thrive, and for the sector to attract and keep the great talent it deserves.

If you want to discuss how to equip your staff and create a resilient culture, email usto explore further. If you feel your manager or HR team would be open to talking with us, please share this article or our email address with them –

We wish you health, resilience, and many opportunities to process your emotions, Hannah and Team Bird.

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

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