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  • Ali H.

How to enable team recovery control



Not so long ago, we shared the four recovery experiences: psychological detachment, relaxation, mastery, and control. One of the main reasons we enjoy sharing insights on workplace recovery practices is that they can be applied in a realist context. Of course, as the first point of call, we should be trying to remove work-related stress from hitting our teams – but for any leader out there, you will know that whilst you can have the best intentions, there are at times, things that prevent you from protecting and supporting your team from stress.


Recovery practices could be an essential tool for us to implement collectively with our teams, as although stress impacts the recovery process, there are ways in which our people can still control and influence their off-job recovery practices.


The ability to control our recovery in off-job time is a skill we will all likely need in our future working ways, particularly given the work intensification we’re now seeing in our contemporary working ways.

  • Recovery control: Control over individual leisure time, deciding what activities to do in free time and when to do it. In turn, this promotes our basic human needs for autonomy and competence.

The good news is that recovery control is something we can look to develop. Our aim and focus should be on the extent to which our behaviour is self-motivated, rather than becoming reliant on external influence.


We can take two approaches to this.

  • Recovery training can enhance the understanding of the individual and supports them identify the factors and activities that impact their recovery and that are unnecessary. The removal of these, in turn, opens us up for more recovery-based activities that enhance our control.

  • Secondly, by enhancing the training of recovery, the perception of control can increase through the focus of efforts on recovery-related goals.


So how can we acquire the motivation to focus on the behaviours that will ultimately support us recover?


We are, in essence, looking at Intrinsic goal setting; these goals are internal as they satisfy our psychological needs as humans. Equally, we are happy to progress the goals, as they are personally meaningful to us. The more we understand around recovery, the easier it gets, so in case you missed them, here’s three reads to get started with; work-related stress, team recovery, and when to detach.


Secondly, here are two exercises to consider for your team to set up recovery control goals:

  • Map out your barriers and facilitators of activities and behaviours that impact off-job recovery experiences (psychological detachment, relaxation, mastery, and control).

  • Develop your self-determination and set your recovery OKRs. Objectives (what do you want to achieve), key results (what does the success look like), initiatives (what do you need to do to get there). It’s all too easy to set weak objectives, so we need to narrow down on what unnecessary activities people engage in and develop plans to remove them where possible.


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