69: Self-care in Support with Hilary Dudek

69: Self-care in Support with Hilary Dudek

Hilary Dudek has halved her commitments and given her team assurance that they are also not accountable to quite the same output levels as before. We talk about ‘space and grace’ in times of high stress.


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Charlotte Ward 0:13
Hello and welcome to Episode 69 of the customer support leaders podcast. I’m Charlotte Ward. The theme for this week is self care in support. So stay tuned for five leaders talking about that very topic. I would like to welcome back to the podcast today. Hilary Dudek. Hilary is lovely to have you back. Thank you for returning this week to talk about self care in support, how we manage our own stress and issues or mental health issues and support and, and really helpfully how we help our team out in trying times. Yes, both of those things are so important. And before we get started, just thank you

Hilary Dudek 1:00
So much for having you back. It’s always great to be on with you. We always have really good conversations. But it is so important. And it’s you know, I know some people don’t like the metaphor, but it’s akin to putting on your oxygen mask before taking care of your team. And so it is very important to take care of yourself first and foremost, otherwise, you’re really going to be so drained, you’re not going to be able to to help your team survive either.

Charlotte Ward 1:26
So right is exactly like the oxygen mask situation, isn’t it? So? So how do we look after ourselves first?

Hilary Dudek 1:34
Well, I know that being who I am as a person that I absorb the energies of those people around me. And so I think first of all, being self aware about how you deal with stress is incredibly important. And my team has been rather stressed the past couple weeks, especially so I found myself getting more and more uptight, stressed. I had a headache the entire week, and I was getting snippy with everybody. So I had to really remind myself, okay, you’re absorbing all of this take a step back. I gave myself some grace to I took a mental day. I also scheduled myself because I like to schedule in my calendar, what my goals are for the day. So I put blocks of time. I cut it in half for the rest of the week. Right? So making sure like every little thing was something to celebrate. Yeah, you read your email, good for you. You’re doing great. And so kind of being my own little cheerleader to, to that really helped. And then I had some room to actually hear my team and help them out.

Charlotte Ward 2:38
Recognising the little things is so important at any time, but really, when when you’re under moments of high stress, it’s really important, isn’t it? Because we spend so long I think so. So much of the average week moving big boulders around right. That’s what it feels like. There’s there’s this kind of, I want to say Herculean task, but there’s that That guy in ancient Greek mythology, mythology, he was constantly pushing a rock up a hill whose name escapes me. Did you know who I mean? Yeah, everyone listening to this will know who I mean, because that’s what support feels like.

Hilary Dudek 3:14
Yes. Yeah. First or something I hope we’re not cursed.

Charlotte Ward 3:18
With were much nicer, I’m sure. But yeah, it can feel like that it’s a never ending a never ending task. you achieve something and you start again, celebrating the small steps of that is really important, isn’t it and helping your team? Do the same?

Hilary Dudek 3:33
Yes, yes. And in less time when there’s just so much uncertainty, and I have several people whose spouses or their partners had been laid off or furloughed, some of them can’t get employment because of certain restrictions over state lines, things of that nature. So everyone’s just running so high stress. So taking, you know, making sure that I’m good and then being able to say, okay, you know, here take time here, I’m flexible with this Like, I’ve thrown projects out the window for the most part at this time, anything that’s not essential we’re not doing it’s it’s surviving right now.

Charlotte Ward 4:08
It is about having grace and about leading by example, isn’t it and making it clear to everyone else. It’s okay not to do all the things right now. So what do you prioritise them?

Hilary Dudek 4:20
The users First and foremost, we’re in the medical tech field. So our clinicians and our patients are all stuck at home and they’re all trying to upload and view their data remotely. So making sure that they’re taken care of is the biggest priority. And so we we actually prioritised a couple projects, beginning of this whole pandemic, where we made some great training videos. That will always take priority but after that, you know, updating our contact us support forum, real low on my priority list, like that’s not getting done anytime soon. Things like that. So putting the users first and foremost and then as really pressing business needs after that, especially in this time I’m giving everyone grace like, I don’t expect you to keep busy every moment of the day, if there’s some downtime in the queue, like, please go breathe or go outside or kiss your kids or do whatever you got to do.

Charlotte Ward 5:17
Do you think that you are learning anything about managing stress or taking care of the team in these times that you’ll take back to the dare I say, normal life after this?

Hilary Dudek 5:34
Yeah, I think so. I mean, if anything, just I’m learning more about my specific team and the individuals that make up my team and how they handle stress or uncertainty. So at the bare minimum, I’m learning about them as people a whole lot more, which I think will be helpful once we return to normal. And naturally, I don’t know about you, but I’m finding that we’re just generally being more open with each other. I would agree. Yeah. It’s okay to have the kids in the background. It’s okay to have chaos around you. Everyone’s very understanding of that, I think especially in support. It’s okay.

Charlotte Ward 6:10
It’s chaos out there. We’re doing a stressful job in stressful times. And we actually need to recognise that right? Maybe that’s the lesson I’m learning. I think that it’s a little more recognition of all of those stresses, whatever’s going on in the background. We do need space and grace to to deal with it, right.

Hilary Dudek 6:33
Yeah, exactly. Exactly.

Charlotte Ward 6:38
That’s it for today. Go to customer support leaders comm forward slash 69 for the show notes, and I’ll see you next time.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai


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