People have forgotten how to work with each other

Posted 25 October 2023 by
Kevin Wood, The Myers-Briggs Company

5 mins

Being on top of the global trends in people development is one thing, but what’s happening on the ground? What are businesses actually asking for help with in 2023?

To find out, we hear from the people with a direct line to organizations across all kinds of sectors—the expert consultants from our Professional Services teams. 

World of change

The world has changed a lot in recent years, and so has the working environment. This has had a direct impact on people and their relationship with their employers, says Dr. Rachel Cubas-Wilkinson, Head of Consultancy in US Professional Services at The Myers-Briggs Company.  

“What employees look for from their employers, and what they expect from their organization, has all become more complex,” she says. “Employees report that they’re experiencing greater stress, fatigue, and strains to their wellbeing. They also report wanting more empathetic and emotionally intelligent leaders.”

However, it’s not just employees who feel the impact. Employers are feeling the changes, too.   

Many organizations report challenges with employee well-being, morale, satisfaction, and team communication and collaboration. Key performance indicators are changing, too.

“This context,” notes Rachel, “creates people-based challenges across every aspect of a business, from team formation and team development to staff training to leadership effectiveness, to key indicators around employee satisfaction, engagement, and retention. Organizations are looking for support with their staff, teams, or leaders.”

For context:

Catherine Ellwood, Head of UK Professional Services at The Myers-Briggs Company, says, “People have definitely been getting in touch with us because they’ve been through change, whether that’s about new teams, getting to know one another, new structures, and so on.” 

But it’s not just managing change where people and organizations need help. 

“We’ve been approached to help with conflict and communication issues,” she adds, “including frustrations due to miscommunication—and breaking down silos to improve cross-organizational working, too.”  

Remembering how to collaborate 

The lingering impact of the pandemic can’t be underestimated. Different issues are still emerging and adding to the complexity of workplace relations and performance. 

“What I’m hearing, post Covid, is that people have forgotten how to collaborate,” says Rachel. “Some clients are so burned out that they’ve lost some of the common courtesies, desires, and civilities from before, so they want us to help them reset the team. We’ve had a lot of those requests: ‘Help remind us that we’re still a team.’ 

“Burnout, wellbeing, and stress are still a daily reality and managers don’t really know what to do about it,” she continues. “They used to get away with perhaps not focusing on employee well-being so much, and maybe just asking employees to check personal needs at the door, but now they can’t really do that.” 

And although change might feel like old news, it’s very much a current reality and demands attention. 

“I’ve been hearing a lot about change,” says Rachel. “For example, I’ve had calls where organizations are so fatigued by trying to make hybrid work that they’ve made the split-second decision to say that everyone’s returning to the workplace and, of course, everything’s gone wrong—they’ve lost some of their best talent and the people who are staying are disgruntled. I think this is a by-product of leaders being fatigued and burned out and just wanting to revert to what is easiest or what once worked at a previous time."

How can business psychology consultants help? Well-being, communication, and more

Given the personal, possibly sensitive nature of topics like well-being and burnout, creating a trusted safe space is one advantage that an in-person consultancy engagement can bring to people and teams.  

“One of our strengths, I think, is that we can facilitate or drive a conversation about something people wouldn’t talk about in their daily life,” says Catherine. “We can get under the surface of behaviors—but not in a scary way!”

Rachel agrees. “Our consultants are trained to elucidate the impact of personality in the world of work,” she says. “For example, our consultants might help a team better understand how the diverse personality types on that team create expectations around communication and collaboration. Being external to the organizations we serve, we are often called upon to diagnose and coach issues with team effectiveness, culture, and leadership. 

“I can think of a recent example,” she continues, “where we brokered a conversation among a senior leadership team. We helped them identify areas where they get in each other's way, where their styles clash, and discussed tactics to help them find greater synergy and collaboration. Our consultants facilitated a conversation that might not otherwise take place. And the senior leadership team is better for it, working on action items to improve their cohesion and collaboration."

To hear more from our consultants in Professional Services, look out for the next blog.


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