The second insight from my New Year reflections relates to MOJO, a term we coined to capture a sense of energy, mind space, and confidence. In its positive form, it shows up as vigour, happiness, and bandwidth to focus on being on top of one’s game. At the other end of the valence scale, being under pressure and at risk of burnout.
Over the last ten years, ISL has been monitoring senior leaders’ Mojo to get a sense of their resilience and the extent to which they are ‘fit-to-lead’ in a calm and considered manner and role-model wellness & well-being.
The results have been mixed. Whilst most team members have had a strong Mojo, one or two in many teams report that their batteries are nearly flat. Even more so since Covid-19 has disrupted our world and leadership has become, for many, a remote online series of zoom meetings.
Over the last three years, ISL has also been monitoring the Mojo of senior executive team members along with their levels of engagement, productivity, and team effectiveness. What we have found is that Mojo is a strong lead indicator for all the key performance measures. As a consequence, it is crucial right now for leaders to regularly monitor Mojo (their own and their team members) — not only from a business performance perspective, but most importantly to keep a close eye on employee wellness & wellbeing.
Last year was a very challenging time and nearly everyone was exhausted by the end of the year. The year ahead is showing no respite and I sense that for some employees, uncertainty will erode the energy they gained over the holidays. As mentioned in my last musing, this is a pivotal time for leaders who would be wise to adapt their leadership style from ‘pacemaker’ to ‘supporter’. Be the Kauri — stand strong, resilient, and confident.
FIVE MOJO PRIORITIES FOR LEADERS IN 2021
Many employees will have people in their close circle whom are struggling with mental health issues right now and this may be weighing heavily on the minds of some of your team members. It is therefore very important that leaders connect with their team members individually to find out ‘how they are really coping. It’s also important to check that their workload and the speed of change is not overwhelming them.
Be sensitive to the impact of at-home dynamics. Provide a safe harbour, a safety net, a sounding board, and a leaning post during these stormy times. Be present and be there for your people. Ascertain if these at-home factors are having a spillover effect on work engagement.
Balance the need for people to air their concerns about global health and political concerns without overly labouring it. Finish on a positive and optimistic note. Be a beacon of light, unity, and positivity throughout the period that we are going through. Find opportunities for some fun, humour and laughter. Have a ‘stand up’ each day and start with each person sharing what they are grateful for.
Everyone will be noticing your Mojo and how you are taking care of yourself. Take time out for exercise and revitalising. Perhaps take a different team member out for a brisk walk together rather than a coffee. Put a bowl of fruit in the office and encourage the team to eat healthy.
Deploy a Mojo Monitor app to give team members the opportunity to record their Mojo anonymously and safely. This will enable you, as leader, to keep your finger on the pulse of team members’ wellbeing. Also encourage your team members to keep an eye out for each other and be supportive.
These five steps will create the context for wellness & wellbeing, headspace and focus, innovation, productivity, and being the best we can be during this extended period of challenges to our humanity.