About two weeks ago, I gave a talk on Ayurveda to a group of employees at a large advertising firm in DC.
We covered the usual topics like the three doshas and how to eat in a way that supports that dosha. However, the truly game-changing conversation was from our discussion of how you can use your knowledge of Ayurveda to have a better communication and a better relationships with your colleagues, including your boss.
Communicate at Work with Ayurveda
Seriously! When you understand your colleagues’ dosha, you can set up meetings and communicate in a way that will resonate with them.
Your dosha determines your body type, but it also relates to what you value, how you communicate, and what causes stress. If you go through your day assuming everyone has the same preferences and communication style as you, you’ll run into issues pretty darn quickly.
Instead, use your knowledge of doshas to better understand the people you’re working with and making sure that you can work productively with people, especially if they have a different dosha then you.
If you don’t know where to begin, figure out what your dosha is and learn about these three mind/body types.
Then, start to think about how the principles of Ayurveda apply to your boss and colleagues. The kind of work they do might give you a clue into their dosha. Their preferences and daily habits could let you know.
Then, you can apply this handy information below to work and communicate most productively and with your colleagues and bosses.
Communicating at work with a Vata
- Don’t surprise them with a meeting. Schedule it beforehand or ask them “when’s a good time to talk”? Give them a heads up, so they can clear their mind of their other projects and pay attention to what you want to talk with them about.
- When you meet (and even beforehand), tell them why you’re there and how long it will take, so they can feel certain and grounded in what the conversation is about.
- Don’t have the meeting in a crowded, busy, or loud place.
- Bring them a tea or something warm if it’s in a cold or drafty place.
- They might be resistant to making a decision RIGHT at that meeting. Instead, say “think about it, and let’s have a meeting about this next Monday”. Give them time to get used to the idea and mull it over, rather than trying to force them to make an on-the-spot decision.
Communicating at work with a Pitta
- Definitely set the meeting ahead of time. Pitta’s are busy! Give them a start and end time, and get bonus points by sending them a calendar invite. Show them that you’re acknowledging and respecting their time.
- Have a plan for their meeting. You can even send them bulletpoints or a checklist beforehand! Make it linear, on target, and without a lot of extra unneeded small talk.
- Be on time. Which means 5 minutes early.
- Bring them water with mint or cucumber to cool them down.
- If they’re giving you a hard time, remind them: you’re a team. You’re supporting them and they’re supporting you. Make sure they know you’re on the same side and you’re there to support them.
- Do have a final action item – a decision or a follow-up plan. Just make sure there are concrete next steps.
Communicating at work with a Kapha
- Schedule the meeting, but don’t make it too early in the morning.
- Even better – make your meeting over lunch or coffee so there’s a feeling of connection and purpose.
- If they’re late, don’t take it personally. (This is true for all of the doshas, but most likely to happen with the kapha.)
- Ask them about their family and other hobbies before getting down to business. They’ll appreciate you caring about them as a real person.
- Bring them some spicy roasted pumpkin seeds or a nettle tea.
- If you need extra support for something, remind them of the community and the team. Let them know you’re working together and ask them for ideas on how to support that team effort.
- Make sure to celebrate them and the team as people, not just workers.
- Give kaphas small tasks with fast deadlines/turn around times. Just saying “get this huge project done” can lead to procrastination. So make them small, doable tasks that they can just get moving on.
With these tips, you’ll communicate more effectively and ultimately have a more productive team.
This can seem like manipulation, but I actually think of it as respect. You’re respecting their desires, preferences, and strengths so that the team can be a success.
If you’re trying to figure out how to deal with the Vatas, Pittas, and Kaphas in your life (including yourself!), consider a consultation with me. Learn more here, or send me an email at sam[at]behappyhealthyhuman[dot]com.
Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day,
Samantha Attard, PhD, is the founder of Happy Healthy Human. Sam is a performance coach and yoga instructor who helps people eat, move, and live with intention. Learn more here.