Video transcript and useful links
Hey, wow. What a big change since last week. We’re sitting here in Glenorchy this morning and we are right in the middle of a once in twenty year flood event. It’s probably one of those one in a hundred year events that is happening a little more frequently than most of us would like. But I thought it would be a really great way to start the day thinking about overwhelm.
I thought that might be an appropriate topic this morning, given that in a couple of hours I’m probably going to be helping my neighbours move their houses out.
So when I first started out as a project manager I worked for a guy who called me into his office one day. We were talking about performance and finishing off a particular project, getting the most out of the team and I remember the thing he said to me and it struck me and it stayed with me.
He said: “You really need to make sure that you’re pushing people past their breaking point, so that you know where it is.”
And it hit me in the chest. I remember thinking it’s horrific, that idea that we would push people beyond what they’re capable of to the point that we break them, just so we know where the line is for next time?
Since then I’ve worked with yoga teachers who brag about people breaking down and crying after their yoga classes or during their yoga classes like it’s this great thing that we’re letting out all of the emotion and that we’re working through something.
What I’ve learned in studying the brain, studying the mind-body connection is that this overwhelm is actually not good for the body at all. So when you push yourself past that point and you actually start to physically and emotionally breakdown what’s happening is you are creating trauma within that person. Whether it’s yourself, whether it’s a team member but what you’re doing is you are programming in some pretty deep, nasty sensations into the body. Those things – much like the lake level in Wakatipu at the moment – continue to rise over time and so little by little bit by bit we build up these emotions and this history and this baggage and if it’s not dealt with, then that can lead to a lot of mental and emotional and physical distress and disease at a later date.
So it’s a place that we just don’t want to go. It’s not healthy for ourselves, it’s not healthy for others. It certainly doesn’t get the best out of people.
What I would say to you today is that your role as a leader, your role in avoiding and fixing the flooding that’s going on, which is going to be so detrimental to your health and well-being of your employees, your performance of your team.
Once you go past that point you never get trust back. Never. There will always be this nagging feeling even on a subconscious level with that person that you are not trustworthy with their wellbeing.
So your role as a leader has to be to create a work environment which is safe for yourself and your team members and yourself to perform in. To create an environment where you can get the best out of those people and therefore your job is to know where that line is for every single one of the people that you work with – and for your family members and friends at home – and to make sure that you can walk right up to that line, and never never never cross it.
Because once you cross that line, trust is broken. And you’ll never get it back.