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:
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?
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
Create a sense of positivity and assurance that “we will survive and thrive no matter what.” Be bold. Be positive. Be assuring.
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.
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.
These five steps will create the context for wellness & wellbeing, headspace and focus, innovation, productivity, and being the best we can be.