Embodied practices for improving team interaction
Encourage your team to let go of routines that prevent creativity. Radical Creativity piloted with Social Presencing Theater’s methods.
These exercises are tools for team leaders to improve their team's interaction by building a safe space and deeper connections as well as making room for new thinking. Some of the exercises can also be done individually.
To achieve something purposeful and beyond the business-as-usual together as a team, one way is to go through a process that is non-linear and partly chaotic by nature, a process that pushes us out of our comfort zones.
This guide is an open invitation for everyone to begin this kind of a process that supports radical creativity and experimental culture — an experiential learning journey — that can increase your and your team's resilience and courage to trust the unknown.
Join the webinar Lessons in transforming society and the self on 19 September, 2023
Illustrations: Anna Muchenikova
Begin the experiental learning journey
First set of practices has been tested and developed during the Capacity Building of Creative Radicals (CBCR) pilot. Each section introduces a practice, its background and purpose as well as instructions for implementing them.
These stem from Social Presencing Theater practices, developed at the Presencing Institute under the leadership of Arawana Hayashi. This development work is based on Otto Scharmer's Theory U. For beginners, the experience might be deeper if it is possible to start with a facilitator (ask more from Kirsi Hakio and Maria Joutsenvirta, see contact details here).
Second set of practices are called Everyday practices — small steps you, as an individual or as a team, can take to improve your embodied and intuitive knowledge, and strengthen the connection between each other as well.
Embodied intelligence can be practised and applied in everyday life too. Below are a few simple practical tips to help you get started with small, low-threshold practices you can start from.
These can be practiced individually, but they can also be implemented in team's daily interactions and ways of working, for example.
The everyday practices attune you to listening to your embodied knowing and others, and thereby eventually, build collective spaces to improve interaction and enable change and creativity both in yourself and your organisational culture.
Many of us are caught up in goal-orientation, outer and inner demands and hurry. We spend a lot of time sitting at desks and staring at screens. We forget about our lower body. When you feel stressed, try these simple practices:
- Pause for a moment. Breathe in and out slowly a few times.
- Whether you are sitting or standing, close your eyes or relax your gaze. Feel your feet touch the ground. Become more aware of your whole body. You can also stretch out on the floor and let your body sink into the ground. Short moment can be enough to bring your mind back to your body.
- When in doubt, listen to your gut. Pause for a moment, get back to your body, see what it tells you.
Embodied practices can help to connect with people, like your colleagues or new team members, in a more versatile way.
We are always part of a social body; teams at work are social bodies. Organisations are social bodies within the larger social bodies of society and humanity.
How can we feel this? How can we experience the social fabric that we co-create moment by moment with others?
- In each meeting and encounter, you can think what kind of a colleague you are at this moment. Are you creating a trustworthy and good atmosphere? Do people feel respected and seen?
- Track your listening. Self-monitor yourself and your behaviour. Write down on a paper or notebook every time you notice yourself listening. What mode were you in?
Think of a challenging or audacious task and write it down, also write down what things would be different when it is solved. During the next few days, talk about the challenge with others, but return to the written document after a few days at the earliest. Do you see it differently?
Book empty slots on your calendar for yourself and add free discussion time to busy meetings as well. Try to make this a new habit for yourself and for your team too.
Making empty space is relevant for being present and processing our emotions, for example. When we are regularly present for each other, we create psychological safety, trust and sense of belonging in the team.
Empty spaces also offer room for seeing freshly, for letting go of something old and for letting something new emerge.
Shifting paradigms – from efficiency to resilience
In new situations, old operating models and solutions no longer work. A renewal requires an ability to unlearn old ways of thinking and doing: courage to adopt novel perspectives and capacity for change.
How do you learn and lead in times of disruption when you cannot rely on the experiences of the past? This is a challenge for any leader that is trying to steer a change process.
This guide presents some of the methods that individuals, teams and organisations can utilise to strengthen the connectedness, embodied intelligence and versatile ways of knowing, and to make space for the new.
The guide provides tools to find our collective creativity and transformative power in an environment marked by complexity and increasing uncertainties; to move towards the unknown, yet something that resonates with us and our collective purpose; and to facilitate change.
A strategic, experimental initiative within Radical Creativity to take further steps towards a more experimental culture.
Stress decreases our wellbeing, creativity and capacity for change. Radical Creativity team organised two embodied practices workshops to boost collective resilience and renewal. You can try the exercises with your team.