No-one doubts we are in ever changing times right now do they?
In recent research by the McCrindle Group they cited that 90% of Australians had been impacted by the current Coronavirus Pandemic. I’d say that’s about right for the entire world right now.
We are daily navigating our way through the global challenges, the national response, the local impact and the personal disruption. I get it, my work has changed dramatically and our two children are learning remote learning at the same rate of their teachers. We have client engagements mixed with recess mixed with creating ways to train leaders in the new world of work followed by family exercise routines. Add to that national entities in financial distress and airline captains now stacking supermarket shelves and hundreds of thousands seeking help from our governments. It’s fatiguing.
This pandemic is teaching us many things. Things about human nature, about resilience, mental health, family, community, the economy, the new world of work and what the future looks like. It’s also a prime time to be proactive and resolute as a leader. With this dramatic backdrop I’ve observed three things that have emerged through this pandemic that we as leaders would do well to acknowledge and internalise.
Take time to honour your losses.
This is based on the work of Ronald Heifetz. This is about taking the time to acknowledge what you believe you have lost in the midst of this pandemic. You may have lost your job, financial security, some health, perhaps you’ve even lost a loved one. You’ve lost the kids being at school right now, a sense of order in the home, rhythm, even some personal liberties.
You can grieve what you can name. Taking the time to authentically and honestly ask yourself what you’ve lost. For most of us in privileged Western countries it begins to narrow down to a deep sense of loss of control, freedom and liberty and autonomy, we can’t do what we want when we want.
By honouring your losses you give yourself the time and space to name it, acknowledge the pain of it and reframe what you can do as a result.
This amplifies what’s already in place – good or bad.
A crisis like this amplifies everything. Good and not good. People panic buy without doing the maths on REAL toilet paper use. Altercations in supermarkets, second guessing peoples motives and behaviours in the light of our own experiences and worldview.
None of that is new, it’s just amplified. For better and for worse.
Whatever is happening IN you will be multiplied BY you in these moments. You own sense of self and wellness, your relationships at home with your partner and children, attitudes towards the systems and structures we work in.
Equally, when you are able to put in place some structure and rhythm that serves your health, your family, and your responsibilities, you’ll see a favourable response in these areas.
Personally, we’re finding a new rhythm is working for us as well as old disciplines. Shaping the days in a way that serves clients as well as having a walk around the block at recess with our two kids has really helped. Focusing on diet, sleep and exercise is central to mental wellbeing and productivity. Naming the bad days and reframing the future are daily practices for us. What’s working for you?
We must practice the art of connection even more now.
Humans are connected beings. We need it, we crave it and we’ve lost it, for now. In this pandemic we are seeing so much innovation and creativity to keep connection high. Zoom calls that have mascots, home office tours, team trivia, celebrations and time to work and play together.
You can run online competitions, family treasure hunts, Kahoots is great. I personally host a weekly Zoom Room for Leaders to check in and be encouraged.
Connection is about making sure we ask “How are you going?” before we ask “What are you doing?” Connection is about taking the time to pay attention to your colleague or friend even more via your screen, asking more inquiry questions, making sure the right messages have been conveyed and understood. Connection of this nature takes more time and energy but is well worth the effort. This investments made in your team this side of the pandemic will yield results on the other side.
Honour your losses, assess what is being amplified and practice the art of connection, these three things will serve you well right now. Lead well. You have it in you and we need you too.