With growing awareness of the importance of emotional intelligence and psychological safety in the workplace, we’re witnessing the importance of a new 6th sense – the ability to listen, understand, and adapt to the emotional climate of our colleagues, teams, and workplace. At Nova we call this a “vibe check”. This heightened sensitivity allows us to create better equity in the workplace community by fostering an environment of awareness, compassion, and understanding. Providing leaders and team members with practical tools and tips to nurture this within your organization can make great strides in a healthy workplace culture.
The Power of the Vibe Check
The traditional workplace paradigm has often emphasized productivity, efficiency, and results at the expense of individual well-being and personal struggles. But we know the impact of healthier work conditions mental health and well-being.
The “vibe check” goes beyond a simple gut feeling; it’s about creating an inclusive workplace culture where everyone feels seen, heard, and valued. It enables leaders to be more attuned to the needs and experiences of their team members, especially those from historically marginalized identities. By cultivating this skill, leaders can create a safe and brave space for open dialogue where their teams can express themselves in a meaningful and honest way.
1. Set the tone
Leadership plays a critical role in setting the tone of the workplace. Instead of a safe space, we need a “brave space” at work. Brave spaces are those that foster support where concerns are heard, valued and embraced. Especially because no space can be “safe” for all people – one person’s safety may not look like others. Normalizing these sentiments lays a healthy foundation for open, candid dialogue.
2. Listening to Understand
Listening to understand is a fundamental tool for conducting successful vibe checks. When team members share their thoughts, feelings, and concerns, it’s crucial that they are fully heard. To be an active listener involves awareness, curiosity and presence. Remember that the task at hand is to listen, not to fix or impose our own perspectives on what is said.
3. Psychological Safety
Psychological safety is an essential component of any successful workplace, and is key to creating an open and trusting atmosphere. A psychologically safe workplace instills confidence in individuals that they can show up as their full selves and speak up without being judged or otherwise negatively impacted. When leaders actively promote psychological safety, team members feel more comfortable expressing themselves authentically.
4. Conflict Resolution
Conflicts come up in every organization. Leaders can utilize best practices from restorative justice to address conflicts in a way that promotes understanding and healing, rather than blame and punishment. Restorative justice encourages open dialogue, active listening, and compassion in resolving conflicts. It allows team members to share their feelings and perspectives, leading to a deeper understanding of each other’s experiences and fostering a culture of belonging and equity.
Part of normalizing vibe checks is making it a consistently recurring process in the workplace. Consider setting aside time before or after a weekly meeting to do a team check-in where everyone can share how they’re feeling entering the space, the day, or the week.
The “vibe check” is a transformative tool that encourages building emotional intelligence to create a more inclusive and compassionate community at work. In implementing these tools and tips, organizations can harness the power of this 6th sense to drive positive change and greater equity at work.