Skip to content
Skip to main content

About this free course

Download this course

Share this free course

Hybrid working: skills for leadership
Hybrid working: skills for leadership

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

3 Creating an environment for moving from surviving to thriving

There is no doubt about it, hybrid working is here to stay. So how do you – as a leader – help yourself and your teams to not only survive this working situation, but actually start to thrive? In this transition from pre-pandemic practices to post-pandemic ways of working, workers seem to be leaving workplaces that are not supporting them in their droves, as you may have seen with ‘the Great Resignation’. People are far more aware now of their own needs and about looking after their mental health.

What do we mean by thrive?

According to various dictionary definitions, to thrive means to be able to grow and flourish and to actually prosper, making continual progress. Whereas surviving is about doing the basics, the bare minimum, or just what is necessary to live.

Can you recall a time when you felt like this in each of these situations? Have you ever felt stuck in the survival mode? Why do you think that is? Looking back over the pandemic, you may have felt that you were in survival mode, putting one foot in front of the other and just focusing on getting through one day at a time. Transitioning from surviving to thriving for some people is not easy: it can be a real challenge. Just making the decision that you are ready to move from surviving to thriving can feel hard, never mind actually taking the necessary steps. You might find that you keep postponing those steps to another day, even though you feel that you are not really living if you are in survival mode.

Activity 19 Compiling a survive/thrive balance sheet

Reflect on whether you feel you are in a survive or a thrive state right now. You will have to be really honest with yourself.

Try drawing up a table with one column headed ‘surviving’ and the other ‘thriving’ and write down all the actions you take and feelings you have that relate to each column.

Assess your table – is one side longer than the other?

Keep this safe as you will come back to it shortly in a later task.

You might need to change your mindset

It is no wonder that you might feel like you are in survival mode when you are surrounded by constant change and uncertainty, and trying to navigate the hazy landscape of hybrid working for you and your teams. According to Hougaard (2020), shifting from survive to thrive involves a mindset shift, reframing threats as possibilities. Some of the ways to do this are: 

  1. Cultivate self-compassion which is not necessarily about sitting cross-legged, with your eyes shut meditating. It is more about being kinder to yourself, silencing that inner critic and being patient with yourself. Recognising that change is not an instant thing, that it takes time and patience, and that you will make mistakes and learn things as you progress. Take one step at a time. 
  2. Moving from a fixed to a growth mindset and not feeling like you have to accept that you have to survive but that you can thrive. Linked with self-compassion having a fixed mindset means that you feel that things are predetermined and that you see a challenge as a threat. Well, it isn’t always a threat and you have to switch your mind to recognize that failures are not a bad thing and there is learning to be had from those moments – you will need to see they are an opportunity to learn and bounce back. 
  3. Engage your beginners’ mind which is a little bit easier than it sounds. For some we are all beginners in the area of hybrid and working in this unique way for other parts of it are more familiar. If you truly adopt a beginner’s mind you can then start to go back to the beginning, back to basics and it is almost as though you are viewing your role, team and even your business with fresh eyes – as if you know nothing about hybrid working.

Activity 20 Reframe to move from survive to thrive

Using the three reframing possibilities above, revisit your list from the previous activity – your survive/thrive balance sheet – and identify one or two items in the surviving column where the reframing approaches could help you to shift them to the thriving column.

In the next sections of the course you will explore some more frameworks that could be useful to make your organisation an environment where people thrive, such as active listening and how to work better together. You will also explore how you will need to build the foundations of psychological safety and trust in order for people to feel safe to speak up and for them to really thrive.