As we experience these extraordinary times and live in this period of uncertainty, constant change and discomfort, it is more important than ever to dig deep into our resilience reserves, to be connected, adaptive and emotionally agile.
Having spoken to clients, colleagues, family and friends, I have been reminded of some key learnings to manage ourselves and our people as many of us now work remotely and adapt to these new ways of living/ being.
“In the event of an emergency put your oxygen mask on first, before helping others”
We are so in tune and familiar with this saying, and yet in crunch times we can easily go into ‘rescuer’ mode, running around taking care of everything and everyone else but ourselves. If we’re not mindful of this, our energy levels can quickly get depleted, resulting in exhaustion and burnout.
Here are some “oxygen masks” that might be helpful:
- Manage self-care – as you establish new work-home boundaries, what healthy changes can you make to your exercise / movement, nutrition, hydration, and sleep routines?
- Create some time to recharge to replenish your energy – such as taking regular breaks, carving out time alone, connecting with others, or working on home projects.
- Get into a routine and maintain a regular timetable for work and family commitments. Plan accordingly and manage it on a day to day basis.
- Manage specific concerns by focussing on what you can control and what you can act on. How can you develop and leverage your sphere of influence/ network?
- If you are finding it hard to get things done, replenish your energy and find things to do that lift your mood. Notice what times of the day you are most energised where you can be most creative, focussed and productive.
- Take moments of pause and recognise what has gone well and what you have achieved to inspire yourself for the next day. Make a note of them for future reference.
- Regularly communicate with people where mutually you get the best outcomes for each other and set up a weekly routine to reflect on the last week and to plan for the next week. Who can you turn to that understands you the best, your strengths and to help you frame your support needs? How can this be reciprocated?
Given the emerging social-economic disruptions and recognising that everyone will deal with the changes to their personal circumstances differently, we will all require adaptive ways of influencing & leading.
Here are some thoughts on how to enable these engagements to self-lead and thrive:
- Consider how you might need to shift your tone and communication style when connecting with your clients and teams. Demonstrating compassion and empathy to their personal set of circumstances and responding open heartedly with their concerns, will show better understanding, manage expectations and lower stress levels.
- Whilst playing to your strengths, be aware of overcompensating with your strengths. Develop your temperament and seek regular feedback from your teams and clients on how you can best support them.
- Be open and candid about organisational changes / adjustment during this period and the impact this may have, especially being transparent about what you don’t know. This will maintain trust.
- Schedule “check-ins” with your clients and teams through video calls where possible, rather than emails alone to proactively support them in managing their own work and home factors – allow greater flexibility to accommodate any home disruptions when scheduling online meetings.
- Identify any key pinch points as you adjust to new ways of working and communicating. Think about how you can problem solve challenges together to encourage creativity and solution-oriented mindset.
- Share internal web-based learning and development resources, as well as new guidance from external sources to help your team stay adaptable and focussed.
- Whist we recognise the rapid evolution of these current challenges, take the long-term view and strategise – what new opportunities emerge in readiness for when our environment starts to recover?
Which of these areas resonates most for you?
What practices / techniques are proving most effective for you and your teams?
Manju Vekaria is a leadership and performance coach, helping leaders and managers to achieve high levels of performance through a focus on wellbeing and resilience.