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Leadership & Management

Mental + Emotional Wellness in the Cannabis Workplace

| January 4, 2019

Mindfulness and emotional wellness go hand-in-hand with the cannabis industry. As strong supporters of a plant that promotes healing, self-care, and stability, it’s important to remember how to lead with those same principles. The daily grind and push for constant change have caused a number of marijuana employees to burn out, resent their manager, or loathe their place of work.

With simple actions, you can support a workplace of mindfulness that can decrease employee stress, while increasing efficiency and customer service. But first, you must lead by example. When you display signs of anxiety or worry, your team will carry that burden too, affecting their performance, ability to collaborate and serve. You must commit to walking the talk by caring for yourself and your team.

Integrate the following practices in your own day-to-day and share these with your team by not only having a conversation, but practicing together.

Credit

“In the past, jobs were about muscles, now they’re about brains, but in the future they’ll be about the heart.” – Minouche Shafik, Director, London School of Economics

Feeling appreciated and knowing that you are adding to the growth and stability of the company is one of the most important aspects of your long-term success. In our fast-paced cannabis environments, it’s difficult to remember to value the talent and unique skill set your team offers.

When your veteran budtenders surpass sales goals, or increase your customer survey scores, give them sincere thanks or treat them to coffee. Spend a few hours each month on the frontlines with your team so you truly understand their daily tasks. You may be able to address common stress points together while developing a new sense of empathy. Your team will be grateful for your perspective and inspired by your ability to balance.

Connect

The foundation of mindfulness is connecting with the body and bringing awareness to your breath. In times of stress, an effective and fast-way to calm nerves is to focus on your breathing and control the erratic rhythm.

Consider hosting mindful moments with the whole team once a week to cultivate stress-management techniques they can then take into their own workday. Here is an easy approach:

  1. Focus your eyes on a static subject or softly close eyes altogether.
  2. Inhale through your nose to the count of four as you expand your stomach.
  3. At the top of the inhale, hold your breath for a count of four.
  4. Gently exhale through your mouth, contracting your stomach, for a count of four.
  5. Hold the empty breath for a count of four.
  6. Repeat 3 – 4 times.

When you find an employee distraught over an interaction with a patient or co-worker, invite them to take a deep breath to reconnect before continuing. Even if you aren’t in a state of anxiety, the ability to stop talking and start breathing can generate a patient energy and allow connection with the present.

Clear

“Clear is kind, unclear is unkind.” Brene Brown

This practice of “clear” has many different applications: clear your mind, clear your speech, clear your space.

Clear your mind
We all desire to lead an engaged, focused, and productive team that operates at 100% every time they’re on the clock. While attaining this might not be a reality, people who are given the opportunity to clear their mind and mentally prepare for their day will be more manageable and effective. Ensure your team is taking breaks and offer them a quiet space, void of technology, fluorescent lights, and unnecessary distractions. Invite your team to take walks or host a walking meeting. Honor mental health days to allow emotional and physical resets.

Clear your speech
Setting a daily intention or mantra to “speak with clarity” will be a gentle reminder to think before talking so you ensure that your words are true. Modify your mantra with words like “honesty” “transparency” or “authenticity”. While remaining dedicated to speaking with clarity, remember to deliver your words with a sense of compassion and awareness of the receiver.

Clear your space
Clutter is a stressful distraction, whether conscious or not. Take time everyday to tidy your desk, your POS station, your trim table, etc. Deep clean these areas regularly and even rearrange your set-up so it’s more comfortable or accessible. Provide supplies for your team to have a clear space and reiterate the importance of managing a clean station, not only for customers, but for their own sanity.

Create

Whether you manage a mostly hourly workforce or an executive team, providing opportunities for creativity will help mitigate lagging, mundane behaviors. Clever outlets lead the brain in a new direction, rewiring and re-energizing creative thoughts. This gives way to more innovative ways of thinking and can help improve workplace enjoyment.

At your dispensary, have your budtenders hold new products in their hands with a blindfold. Ask them to create their own product line based on what they hold. Have them name their product, describe the logo and packaging, explain its effects, what demographic would appreciate it, and where it would look best on shelves. At your grow (where every wall seems to be white), designate a wall that can be the employees’ to do with what they like: a collaborative mural, collage, favorite quote collection, whatever!

Work in the cannabis industry is unlike any other work. Make it inviting by encouraging yourself and your team to practice awareness through some or all of these mindfulness techniques!