With so many moving pieces, it would be difficult to never feel a bit crazy in the call center. What makes it worse is when a call center leader's overwhelm trickles down the line and starts effecting the mood of everyone on your team. I call it the "Gray Cloud" effect.
So in times of high stress, how do you turn that "Gray Cloud" into "Blue Skies"?
Last year I moved into a new office and had a discussion with a Feng Shui expert about how to best decorate. Her very insightful question was "What do you want to feel when you are in your office." I was going through a very stressful time working on a couple tough new customer service projects and with people who were struggling to keep a positive focus. My immediate response was "I want to feel joyful in my work. I want to feel joyful when moving through my projects. I want to help the people I'm working with find joy in their call center. I'm tired of feeling like we are pushing a crushing boulder up a never ending mountain trail."
Her advice: Put the word "JOY" on my bookcase. Off to the craft store and this is the picture of the top of my bookcase.
At first it seemed a little silly. But everyday I found myself looking for ways to bring a little bit of joy into the day, into the call center projects and into the lives of the customer service team. Joy came in many forms: a simple compliment, taking a moment to reflect on progress, expressing gratitude for team members, etc. It was the constant reminder that if I WANTED JOY, I needed to LOOK FOR JOY.
The tone of the project didn't change instantly, but after 6 months I can look back and see that this team has come a very long way. They are much more positive and focused on solutions rather than problems. It's like looking at the path from the top of the mountain, it doesn't seem quite so steep.
Why does a reinforcing reminder tool like my JOY sign work? Shawn Achor in "The Happiness Advantage" discusses extensive studies that show a brain in Positive Mode is 31% more productive than a brain in Neutral or Negative mode. He urges practicing gratitude daily to raise your happiness quotient.
Ask yourself, what do you want to FEEL when at work. Find a way to focus on that one feeling and you will be a better manager, you will grow stronger teams.
The musical theme song for today is "Blue Skies" as sung by Ella Fitzgerald. Instant Joy when you need it most!