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Journaling: Why it’s Important for Team Development

If you have a busy team to organize and are concerned about their mental health and how they can best work together, journalling might just be the answer. LinkedIn CEO, Jeff  Weiner spends a minimum of 90 minutes a day in reflection. Teddy Rosevelt wrote a journal. As did Harry Truman. 

So, read on to find out how journalling for just 15 minutes a day could help you become a better leader, and could improve your team.

So, why journal?

It reduces stress

Stress often equals illness, in the long-term. If your team are less stressed, then they will take fewer sick days. Not only that, they will also make better judgments and clearer decisions. Someone who is less stressed works more in harmony with their peers. Michael Grothaus’ studies suggest that journaling can drop blood pressure, help with a good night’s sleep and even strengthen the immune system. 

It can improve mental health

If you’re not feeling well, this is can affect every other part of your life. The stronger your team is mentally, the better. As well as decreasing stress and anxiety levels, journalling has been found to help those that have suffered a trauma. While painful at the time, it can help people to process issues they would otherwise avoid.

It helps you to self reflect

A team of people who are self-aware can help them to act with more purpose and to be sure of themselves. The act of writing slows us down and makes sense of a world in which we are generally pelted with extra information online and from our colleagues. We are able to contact anyone instantly. But just because you can, doesn’t mean a knee jerk reaction is the best call. Journalling allows for deeper self-reflection and distances you from any problems they might be having.

It helps with making important decisions

Another useful part of journalling is to have it up your sleeve when you need to think things through. You have a few options and you need to make a decision. This can make things clearer so that you deal with difficult decisions and situations gracefully.

It can give a new perspective

Getting your thoughts down on paper can often lead to finding a new perspective of an old problem. This is because we can only think so many thoughts at once. Having all of them written down in front of us can lead to a solution we hadn’t thought of before.

It can help reduce or resolve conflict

Sometimes at work, something (or someone) is just bugging you. This can get in the way of focusing on what you need to be doing. Journalling can help your team members to clear their minds and to let off steam. Having a clearer head leads to more positive interactions and conflicts will resolve more easily if everyone in the office is feeling a little better about any issues raised.

It increases emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence is all about understanding your own emotions, as well as others’, and journalling is not a bad way to learn more about both. Having a rant about what you feel can release those feelings, which helps to see things from a new angle, including that of your other teammates.

And if you are connected to your emotions more than the next person, then your team definitely has something over the competition. Any individual that is calm and considerate of the rest of the team, is someone easy to work with and that everyone can learn from.

It is a record

In a very practical way, a journal becomes a very useful record of what happened and when. This can be especially useful if there is a dispute with two differing opinions, or if you need the facts for some sort of legal issue.

It shows team growth

If you can look back on any conflicts or difficulties and how your team resolved them, this can not only be a great way of finding better ways to work together, it can also be a confidence booster. A journal shows how far you have come as a company.

How to journal

If you haven’t put your thoughts into written form for a long time, it can feel a little awkward and even daunting at first. But you don’t have to write a novel.

 in order journal. There are several ways to go about it, and each can be tailored to what you want your team to get out of the experience:

A gratitude journal. A gratitude journal can also benefit your immune system and emotional health. It can also improve levels of empathy and reduce aggression.

Focusing on the positive results in a more positive team.

Block out 10 – 15 minutes for journaling time. You could all journal together before a lunch break or before you get started in the mornings. Perhaps you can leave each team member to organize their time and encourage them to practice journaling. 

Make sure everyone’s journals are private and no one should ever be obligated to share their personal or private thoughts.

Think about what you want to get out of this experience. Journalling can focus your team in a way no other exercise can. You could decide to use a writing prompt generator, or choose writing prompts for each team member – list the things that are working well within your team. Or, you could add in learning moments or ways in which things can be improved. Or you could just do a ‘brain dump’ and write out anything that is bothering you to get it out of your head and onto the paper. Whatever works for you and your team.

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