Updated: May 13, 2020
I suspect there were high expectations from the PM’s speech yesterday. Some of us probably hoped for more freedom, some for more clarity and some for a little bit longer with lockdown to make sure they and their families are safe. Today’s 50 page report gives a bit of more explanation-but was it what we were hoping for?
Whatever your expectations were-I am wondering how the speech made many of us feel?
What the speech made me reflect on is “What a resilient leader should be doing in the time of crisis in order to support their team?”
I appreciate that for many, this temporary normal will have a massive impact on:
Our well-being (mental and physical)
The ways we work
How we perceive work/life balance
Those three points alone (among other changes we will see ) will need to be addressed by leadership teams across industries. Resilient organisations and resilient leaders will be able to create a work culture, where resilient employees are healthier , happier and more productive.
Staff well-being+motivation +engagement = leads to productivity (not the other way round)
This is the time of uncertainty and building resilience is not as easy as it might have been in normal circumstances. What if this is our new normal for a while? Does it mean we stop investing in our people ?
When creating resilient leaders I work with a number of resilience principles. I create bespoke solutions and offer to enhance resilience of leaders and organisations. Some of resilience factors we start with (especially during crisis, such as COVID-19 ) are:
Leaders should continue creating a sense of purpose- especially important when experiencing adversity (crisis). Leaders must ensure they are explicit about what they are hoping to achieve and how the success could look like. A clear vision helps teams with focus- which sometimes can be lost due to experiencing crisis.
Crisis is unpredictable, it can feel chaotic and out of control. What strengths and skills do you have as a leader and as a team? Are there any strengths within the team that have not been utilised but could be useful now? Some people thrive in crisis situations-use that opportunity to enhance your product/services. It might be a good time to review your own ways of working and how you as a leader use your own strengths and skills.
Especially in times of crisis clear communication is crucial. When a crisis hits, many of us may experience cognitive difficulties, our decision making ability can be weakened and our judgment might be affected. Short and clear communication from the leader is crucial to help teams with functioning during any crisis. Watch out for communication overload! Communication principles can be helpful when creating a communication strategy.
Potentially the hardest to build if it was something lacking prior to the crisis. But nothing is impossible. Leaders can start (re)building trust by following 4 principals: Being a good role model, Being honest and transparent, Being a team player and Being compassionate)
PSYCHOLOGICAL SAFETY(and psychological contract) :
Leaders who create psychological safety also create a more engaging and motivating culture at work. Questions you might want to ask yourself as a leader are those Paul Santagaga (Head of Industry at Google) asked when conducting a 2 year study on team performance :
1. Approach conflict as a collaborator, not an adversary.
2. Speak human to human.
3. Anticipate reactions and plan countermoves.
4. Replace blame with curiosity.
5. Ask for feedback on delivery.
6. Measure psychological safety. (Santagata periodically asks his team how safe they feel and what could enhance their feeling of safety. )
“Talking the talk and walking the walk” can go a very long way. If you as a leader practice what you preach, you are more credible, trustworthy and your employees know what they can expect from you but also what can be expected of them. This is crucial, especially during the times of crisis, where chaos sometimes might take over. Employees are looking up to their leaders for guidance and direction. By role modelling it is more likely they will follow your leadership. A really great example of not great role modeling and what it can do to you as a leader is the recent incident of Government scientist Neil Ferguson.
If you want to support your teams and leaders to become even more resilient in order to improve their ability to cope with crisis and prevent stress and burnout , please get in touch with me on firstname.lastname@example.org
Or on 07815310862
Stay safe and I am looking forward to supporting you to become even more resilient.