In the latest HCI Webinar, Dr. Jonathan H. Westover talks with Chester Elton about creating and sustaining a high-performance work culture. Below is a summary of the main points from their conversation! Check out the full episode and let us know what you think!
Watch the episode here:
Chester Elton and Jonathan H. Westover discussed the impact of the pandemic on work culture, emphasizing the increase in worker anxiety and wellness concerns. They highlighted the need to normalize conversations about mental health in the workplace and the importance of empathetic leadership. They also discussed the stress caused by constant connection to technology and the need for leaders to model healthy digital boundaries. Additionally, they discussed the importance of leaders fostering supportive environments and adjusting their strategies to attract younger workers.
Work Culture and Mental Health Post-Pandemic
Chester and Jonathan discussed the impact of the pandemic on work culture. They highlighted the increase in worker anxiety and wellness concerns, which could affect workforce productivity. Chester shared statistics showing an increase in anxiety disorders and noted that 50% of millennials and 75% of Gen Z had left a job due to mental health concerns. Westover pointed out the persisting stigma around mental health, which could impact an employee's ability to advance and take on leadership roles. Both emphasized the need to normalize conversations about mental health in the workplace.
Mental Health and Empathetic Leadership
Chester highlighted the importance of destigmatizing mental health issues like anxiety and stress by leaders sharing their experiences. He advocated for time off when overwhelmed and the growing importance of empathetic leadership. Jonathan discussed the concept of "toxic resilience" and emphasized the need for compassion and empathy towards team members' struggles. Chester agreed, stressing that resilience should not come at the cost of work quality or retention of talented personnel. He also noted the generational differences in work ethic and expectations, emphasizing the unique talents of younger generations.
Technology Stress in Meetings
Chester and Jonathan discussed the stress caused by constant connection to technology, particularly during meetings. Chester suggested the idea of turning off phones during meetings to increase focus and reduce stress, citing Google's policy as an example. However, he encountered resistance from people who felt they needed to be available for their families or other responsibilities. Chester emphasized the need for leaders to model healthy digital boundaries and to give their teams space to rest and recuperate.
Leadership Coaching and Adaptation in Changing Times
Chester and Jonathan discussed the importance of leaders fostering supportive environments for their team members and adapting to changing situations. Chester emphasized the need for leaders to act as coaches, teachers, and mentors, while Jonathan noted the expectations of younger generations for more guidance and mentoring. Both agreed on the necessity of leaders adjusting their strategies to attract younger workers and reframing the conversation about leadership. Chester Elton also highlighted the challenges of leading during the pandemic and the need to understand the needs of constantly connected generations.
Creativity, Mental Health, and Leadership
Chester emphasized the importance of creativity and downtime, suggesting that individuals should take breaks from technology and commit to disconnecting to promote mental health. He also discussed the role of leaders in fostering a safe environment for employees to discuss mental health and offered strategies for reducing anxiety in the workplace. Chester highlighted the successful mental health initiatives of organizations such as Mastercard and recommended his book, "8 Ways to Deal with Anxiety at Work," as a resource for improving workplace environments.
Listen to the webinar here: