The world of work as we know it is going to look drastically different from what it is now, post-COVID-19. With hybrid models of work becoming the norm, a rising number of companies working from home, increasing stress and uncertainty, what also needs to change is the leadership narrative. There is an imminent need to relook at leadership to help lower employee stress and anxiety in these times of rapid disruption and change. The People Matters EX Virtual Conference on 19th June is our endeavor to throw the spotlight on employee experience (EX) to reiterate its importance, especially in today’s changing times.
Pandit Dasa, Former Monk, Founder & CEO for Work Mindful is a Mindful Leadership Expert, motivational keynote speaker, and author. In an exclusive interaction with People Matters, Pandit shares ways in which leadership needs to be reimagined and the need to boost emotional intelligence, especially in these times.
2020 has been a tough year. How do you think it will impact the way leadership needs to evolve?
Leaders will need to, more than ever before, demonstrate greater levels of empathy during these times. No one saw this coming and the level of stress and anxiety, on an emotional, mental and financial level, this is causing globally, seems to be unprecedented. Leaders will need to be able to put themselves in the shoes of their employees who might be struggling on many levels to be as productive as before.
“This is a great opportunity for leaders to evolve and show their workforce that people matter and that they care for the well-being of their employees.”
As COVID-19 has shown, organizations will have to equip themselves to deal with the rapid rate of change and all sorts of crises. What do you think are key characteristics of a leader who can lead through a crisis?
One key characteristic of leading during COVID-19 is going to be flexibility and understanding. Flexibility in being able to manage their workforce who are all working from home. Many who are working from home are having to juggle more responsibilities than ever before. While trying to complete work-related tasks, many have to get much more involved in the education and day-to-day needs of the children which were previously taken care of by the schooling system. If leaders aren’t able to remain flexible and understand the challenges being faced, which they themselves might be facing, then it could harm the relationship between the management and workforce.
What are some of the ways in which the leadership today can help lower employee stress and anxiety in these times of rapid disruption and change?
“Leaders can help employees lower stress and anxiety by showing that they care about those working under them.”
This could be done by picking up the phone and personally calling some, all, or as many team members as possible and have a conversation with them and check in with them on a more personal level. This will build trust with the workforce and let them see that their leaders are human beings and that they care about me and not just the work I do. When a human being feels cared for, they will naturally demonstrate greater levels of loyalty and dedication.
What do you think are some key characteristics which emerging talent leaders specifically need to possess in order to boost the productivity of their employees in these tough times?
Regular doses of appreciation will go a long way. Everyone likes being appreciated and research shows that employees are more productive when they feel valued and appreciated. Of course, we don’t necessarily need research to understand this point. In general, due to all the social isolation, people might be feeling a dip in their energy, mood, and morale. Appreciating our workforce, in small and specific ways, as individuals and as teams, can lift moods and boost morale which ultimately is great for productivity.
What is your one piece of advice to emerging leaders as well as individuals when it comes to boosting emotional intelligence?
This is a rare opportunity for leaders to demonstrate that nothing is more valuable than their employees and that what matters most is their overall well-being. Mindfulness has shown to improve emotional intelligence. Simple practices such as taking some deep breaths, calming our emotions, feeling grateful for the positive things that are taking place, and introspecting on ways in which we can improve our own character and behavior can help us become more emotionally intelligent. This will help us in both our professional and personal relationships.
To learn from him and other experts as to what it takes to create a world of incredible experiences, join us for the People Matters EX: A Virtual Conference on 19th June