Top 5 Priorities For Leaders In 2021

Over the holidays as I reflected on the leadership lessons that I learned over the years, I jotted down the five big insights I gained and what they mean in the current Covid-19 context. The one I put at the top of my list is ANXIETY.

 

What I’ve noticed is that human beings are often affected more by anxiety over what might happen, than dealing with what actually happens. Paradoxically, it’s often the small things that, like termites, are the most disruptive to the psyche.

 

Some people have personality traits that give rise to a greater propensity for anxiety than others. These people are more likely to experience sensations of fear which can distract and debilitate. In more certain times, these employees functioned very well. Now during the current global uncertainty, the risks to self, career, family, and friends may become overwhelming.

 

As we have another exciting and challenging year ahead of us, this is a pivotal moment for leaders. Over the next week or two, it might be smart to action the following to kick start the new year in a positive and empowering way:

 

  1. Purpose

    Refresh and re-present the real purpose and meaning of our organisation and team. Why we are here and why it matters? What contribution are we making to our community and our society?

  2. Vision

    Narrate the journey we are going over the year ahead, and what that means for the organisation, team(s), and individuals. Likewise, ask employees to record their own purpose, vision and personal plan in a way that aligns with the organisation and their team

  3. Certainty

    Create a sense of positivity and assurance that “we will survive and thrive no matter what.” Be bold. Be positive. Be assuring.

  4. Trust

    Create a high sense of trust in the CEO, senior leadership and all leaders throughout the organisation. Remove silos and politics. Encourage people to open up, show vulnerability and ask for support.

  5. Safety

    Point out that leadership will create safe harbours, safety nets, and leaning posts. Make it explicit how to go about safely getting help when needed without putting reputation and career at risk.

CONSEQUENTIAL BENEFITS

These five steps will create the context for wellness & wellbeing, headspace and focus, innovation, productivity, and being the best we can be.

Easter Musing during Lockdown

Easter symbolises new light and new life.

 

This Easter will give new meaning to what has been in the past, for many, little more than a long weekend at the beach.

 

No one knows what the new way will be but most would agree it will, more than ever, put people before profit, and family before all else. One thing is for sure — we will always remember the importance of the basics of human existence and be grateful for our abundance.

 

It’s been so interesting to observe the amazing talent, humour, giving and goodness of so many during the global lockdown. Particularly the nurses, doctors, police and all those in the essential services, who serve us so graciously, and that we mostly overlook acknowledging.

 

The speed of change and agility of leaders and their teams is also beyond comprehension. We have all had to spin-on-a-dime, learn new skills overnight, and fully embrace the digital world in order to communicate with our team members, our customers, and deliver our products and services. It’s incumbent on us all to reinvent our organisations and ourselves, and to redefine our purpose and mission – asking ourselves WHY we do what we do and how it contributes to the wider community.

 

The real challenge for leaders will be to maintain the high levels of engagement and productivity, ignited by the adrenalin rush during week one of the lockdown. This will require attention to taking the steps necessary to maintain good Team Mojo as the video conferencing and long hours start to take their toll.

 

Easter will assist in this regard — being a time of peace and quiet all over the world. Our streets will be empty, the skies clear and still, and the whole world will be huddled in their bubbles with those near and dear.

 

I wish you and yours a blessed Easter — a time for reflection and gratitude. And a great start to what is all new and all good.

 

Kind wishes to you and your family,

 

Geoff

The Impact of COVID-19 on each Personality Type

In business-as-usual (BAU), leaders and followers use their natural, instinctive approach to gather information, make decisions and live in the world. When stressed, however, they start to display characteristics that are at-odds with the person we have become accustomed to.

 

In crises situations, where stress and anxiety are amplified, both at work and at home, all of us can become a tad ‘weird’. The extraverts can hide in their closets. Introverts will typically go deep into their caves.  Positive upbeat people, whom are usually warm and compassionate can hide under the duvet, catastrophising about all those in the world who are being affected, imagining the worst possible scenarios, and feeling incredible sadness and pain.

With income and family at risk, it’s natural for people to put self and family before all else and queue jump through to the front of the line.

In terms of the 4CHARACTERSTM

 

It’s the compassionate Yellow and Green characters who will typically be most affected and out-of-sorts. At the extreme, they could present as overly emotional and with an uncharacteristically low mood.

Greens will be seeking structure and a sense of purpose. Particularly the extraverted ones who will go very flat when they can’t get out and about to help others and connect with people in a high touch way.

 

Yellows may become distraught when they change from their normal big picture intuitive processes to using their underdeveloped analytical functions – looking for facts to validate and justify their doom scenarios.

 

The Red and Blue Characters will typically overplay their gifts in the early stages of the crises – potentially taking an overly directional approach as they seek to take control of the situation.

The Reds naturally innovate and spin on a dime, so they will be focusing on reinventing the business model and most likely cracking the whip while setting an unrealistic pace. After sustained stress, they may unconsciously slip into the ‘shadow-side’ and become overly emotional and tearful.

 

The Blues will initially focus on structure, data gathering and adding process and logic in their attempt to bring law and order to the situation. Along with their Green colleagues, they will focus on improving the situation and will be stressed by the fast pivots of their Red and Yellow counterparts. If they unconsciously go ‘shadow-side’ after the sustained stress and anxiety, they too may become overly emotional and show up erratically – the complete opposite to their normal ‘true blue’ characteristics.

The Complexity of ‘Shadow-Side’ Behaviours

 

Each person will be affected by the pandemic in different ways, depending not only on their ‘character type’, but also on their individual personal and family situations, which may amplify the impact. Someone who is normally kind, compassionate and measured, could become explosive within seconds, surprising their colleagues or family members by their outburst. Most likely the explosion will be ignited, not by what was said, but by what the person in the ‘shadow-side’ thought was said.

How each of the 4CHARACATERS will respond to stress and anxiety in a crisis cannot be reliably determined by their character colour. Shadow-side analysis requires an expanded 8 Shadow types (incorporating Introversion and Extraversion, Jump Start and Pressure Prompted dynamics) – too much complexity to understand unless you are a personality type guru.

To support our alumni and clients through this crises period, we have expanded the Executive Profile (in the Leader Dashboard) and Team Dynamics (in the Team Dashboard) to include a section on ‘What others will notice about you if you go into the shadow-side’

How to get out from Under the Shadow and back into the Bright-Side

 

Regardless of which character colour leaders and followers are; the CHEERFUL approach is a great start:


C         stay Connected

H         Help those in need

E         Eat healthy 

        Exercise in the sun 

R         Respect yourself and others

         Fun amps up immunity

U         keep it simple and Uncomplicated 

         let Love be your true north

 

Tools for Applying these Concepts in an Interpersonal and Team Context

 

ISL’s sister company, SmartLeader Apps TM  has developed a suite of digital tools to support leaders. These have been used effectively by many clients during BAU – and will be even more impactful as we navigate through the COVID-19 crisis.

These tools include:

  1. Team dashboard: 4CHARACTERSTM function – understanding the mix of team personalities; dominant characters and those types which are underrepresented. A drill down function that explains how each team member is Wired-UpTM, each person’s gifts, blind spots and communication preferences. A new “what you will notice about them in the shadow-side”
  2. IOS app: CLICK-WITHTM – an app that enables team members to understand their points of compatibility and potential flash points when working with others in their team.
  3. MY TEAM PULSETM: 4CHARACTERSTM tile – sets out the team composition and provides a DIY FIXIT Toolkit, with resources enabling leaders to understand more about personality and how to interpret dysfunctional behaviours.

 

For information about accessing these apps and obtaining online ‘one-on-one’ and ‘team coaching’ contact us at info@leadership.ac.nz