As we all get adjusted to a protracted season of working from home, leading virtually, and staying healthy, leadership really matters. During these times of crisis what you do right now makes a difference. Your teams, your organizations, and your families will remember how you acted during these times and they will think about it for a long time to come.
So how can you be the leader you want to be? Here are some tips to get you started:
As the those of us in the US adjust to our first week or so social distancing and staying from home some new ways of operating are emerging. As we slow down and don't run around so much, I see that people are connecting more, finding creative ways to do that and emerging a little bit more vulnerable. As we share in this collective panic we see that we are all human, all want to love and be loved, all want to contribute to others/to the world, and all need to be with others, but in this day and age prior to COVID we might have forgotten that in the rush to succeed, to prosper, to achieve, especially in the US. I see some ways that things have changed already and am wondering if you think these things will remain when this is all through:
During these tumultuous times in the United States and around the world, social distancing is becoming the new way of operating. To stay safe and not contract and/or spread the coronavirus more and more people are working from home. As a result people can feel socially disconnected and/or start feeling down. How can we keep engaged and keep our spirits up during these times?
As new things finally come into view deepening your happiness level, your energy levels, and your vision become just as important as allowing the change to occur. For when change happens resistance and/or hesitation could come up for healthy change (even good changes) will bring up feelings of loss and/or grief. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross' 5 stages of grief often come up in a change process as you feel a loss of the old - old ways of being, acting, doing in the world or in your organization and this can be hard. But with change there also comes possibilities, opportunities, wisdom, and evolution.
Put in the effort to keep grounding yourself during these times of change. Ask for support from those close to you. Invest time in self-care such as physical exercise, meditation, walks in nature, music, etc to keep yourself grounded. Let yourself feel the resistance and ask any questions or get clarification that you need. As you let yourself feel the feelings and surround yourself with support you can move through the change that you have been seeking for some time and truly flow into the next phase of things.
How can you ground yourself at these times?
To inspire others to want to come along with you leaders need to willingly accept their commitments, allow for time to be spent on those commitments, and wisely elevate their energy levels so that they can truly go after those commitments. As leaders we often get things thrown at us which take our energy, our time, and our resources, but they are not truly moving us towards our true goals in business.
In order to keep you energy levels high leaders need to focus on what truly stokes their passion. By working towards those things which are inspiring to you a leader can continually replenish their tank, keeping them wisely moving towards the right goals. By spending energy on time suckers, or on supporting/helping others more often than themselves, or not allocating enough time to do the things which are important, leaders can go off track.
To build up the muscle of continually focusing on what is most important, use Steven Covey's four quadrants and populate it with those things that are most relevant for you to keep your energies high:
As a leader it is important to be yourself. All types of people and personalities can be good leaders but the best ones are true to themselves. They lead with their values. They follow their passions. They inspire people to come along. With authenticity in ourselves we can truly do all of these things. With authenticity embodied (e.g. - us own our own values, needs, dreams, etc) then all of the truth of us can truly show up.
How can you embody your truth today?
I have wildly successfully let go of my past and thereby am now healthily accepting change, flexibility, adaptability, and therefore growth with others...for the truth was I had been carrying a lot of my past with me for a long time. And in order to change we must let go and be in the now. Mindfulness helped that a lot through wisely enjoying the present and being wise enough to then allow the past to leave.
What have you been holding onto for so long that it feels normal? What will help you to be in the now?
As we all grow into ourselves deeper and deeper intimacy can occur. People we have been connected to suddenly the relationships can go deeper. With those we have recently met we can healthily assess or determine which direction the relationship will take much more quickly. And with those we are partnered with we can truly be ourselves vs. agonizing about things so much or trying to change in order to match with that person.
When you are real about who you truly are, relationships deepen and thereby freedom occurs for wealth is successful relationships. As I grow more satisfaction in my healthy relationships I no longer limit my possibilities for the future and take action towards deeper connections rather than avoid or run from them.
What relationships do you want to deepen? With whom do you want to spend more time?
Living on purpose allows one to fully express who they are and what is important to them. Rather than living inauthentically or not validating your full range of emotions one can feel stifled, misunderstood, and/or not true to themselves. Once you find your true purpose you feel stronger to make sure you are living up to those standards and not making decisions which are not aligned to that vision any more.
Deep inner work heals the division within you but the true benefit of that is living truly aligned, on purpose, and using your voice authentically so that people see the true strength in you (your capabilities) as well as your true compassion, empathy, and heart for the wise authentically show both parts of themselves to the world. Finally then who you are beams out and neglects one's own needs no more but wisely lets them open up to being seen and heard and developed fully by asking for help, support, as well as partnership on things that are important to them.
What is important to you? What do you need to ask for support or help on? Where do you need to show both your strength and your vulnerability?
When I finally had the confidence to move forward in the direction of my purpose welcome opportunities are flying towards me. When we make a decision about the path forward and begin to take actions on them then things naturally come towards us. I put it out to my network that I am interested in certain opportunities and they have begun to put me in touch with their friends and colleagues who are working in those areas. I have found opportunities as a result of being part of larger networks and people are looking on their own for me. I feel privileged to have a large network, to be able to lean on them, and to be able to provide for them as well. It is always a give and a take, but I feel privileged to right now be able to lean in and see dozens of people, opportunities, and resources coming my way. I am eternally grateful for the work I do, the friends I have, but mainly the duty I feel towards pursuing the purpose I have in my heart to work towards.
What are you being called to do? How can you leverage your network, resources, and/or support to move that purpose forward?
Monica Thakrar has over 18 years experience in business focused mainly on strategy, change management, leadership development, training and coaching resulting in successful implementations of large scale transformation programs.