Today if you read any literature or message on social media it is all about 'Work From Home' and managing your teams and yourself better. However, I would like to share my perspective on how we need to really look at ourselves during these times. During the course of my career I have been fortunate to have been given the opportunity to handle various crisis situations impacting the organizations that I have worked for and my co-associates. The thoughts and actions shared below have helped me wade through various situations and have made me emerge stronger as an individual, and as a leader.
The opportunity to relook at what is important at this time will help us be better human beings, and ultimately impact the way we connect with each other, to make a meaningful difference. Here are a few takeaways based on my experience to help you sail through:
It is fine to be emotional
During this time of lockdown and work from home it is absolutely fine to be emotional, with your family, teams and other stakeholders as well. Being emotional helps you have an authentic conversation and you are truly yourself. You are able to let go of your burdens and difficulty with ease and this helps you with a refresh button that allows you to let go of what was always a fear or something that you never wanted to talk about. Opening up your emotional side makes you not just a stronger person, but you are also able to emotionally connect better with your teams and they can easily empathize with you. When things bounce back, the ability for you to scale up as a team is much better and you will easily be ahead of the curve.
Difficult decisions taken by your organization and its impact on you
During this time across the world, companies are forced to take difficult decisions that may impact your compensation, employability or other related decisions. Yes we are human, and at first this may have an impact on our psychological well being and we will find it difficult to accept this. However, we must acknowledge that these decisions and its impact are not because of our personal failures and must not be taken personally. Being human, it is natural for such decisions to affect us – however the more we bring in negativity, farther away we go. What is required to stay level headed and push ourselves are these 3 points:
- I have at this point no control over this decision, and with time this will heal
- I need to focus on my strengths and continue to use them in whichever way possible so that I am ready to put them in use when various avenues open up
- I need to focus only on the things that I can control and eliminate worrying over the uncontrollable
Your Vulnerability will ultimately be your strength
Most of us during this time try to hide our vulnerability and display only the accepted behavioral norms and expected leadership characteristics. The truth is that many of us do not really know how to manage many aspects during this time and there is a fear to ask for help or talk to someone and let them know that we need help. We feel scared to expose ourselves during these times and feel that it will be considered as inappropriate if we do not address issues rightly. As leaders and functional heads we try to fit in a model of behavior that is acceptable or easy to emulate. However, by showing our vulnerability at this time it would only help us in the long run, and many a times, help would come from unexpected quarters as solutions to our issues and we can make maximum use of this in the long run. Solutions would be out of the box ,more practical and the ability to have an impact would be much wider, acceptable and innovative. We need to ponder over this and understand that ultimately our strength lies in our vulnerability.
Document your learnings and share them
The best ideas come to us during difficult times and there is no better way but to document them, practice them as much as possible and share them. The best time to pen your thoughts is now. There is no better time to do this. The thoughts that cross our minds now would never have happened had we been busy in our usual day to day routines. Many new models of looking at the way we need to work in the future, making life simpler, using technology for what matters with less complexity, and ultimately being more humane will come out in granular detail at this time. Therefore, it is important that we make a record of all of this to help us as time goes by.
Last but not the least, truly believe that time is the best healer
Most of us have given unsolicited advice at various points of time but it is only when you go through what someone else is going through, that you realize the value of what you have lost. In such times we need to truly believe and accept the fact that this phase will pass and when this passes we will be thankful for what we have learnt. We need to condition our minds to look at the positive side and be less impacted by negativity. Acceptance of the present situation with the fact that this will pass is the biggest healer. We have all faced challenges in various situations and some of those have been the most difficult when we go through them but over time when we look back, those were the defining moments which taught us something, and in hind sight has been our strength and had an impact to change behavior for the better.
It is important that we realize that nothing is permanent and everything will pass. Times like the present one are a reminder that the smallest of things probably have the highest value today. We need to open our eyes and look more closely at everything we took for granted. Whilst it is important that we take adequate precautions to manage the current situation, it is also a time to reflect on our mental model of thinking and acting and the resultant behaviour of our actions. There is no straight jacketed answer or a process map in such situations but a reminder that we need to stay humble, relevant and more importantly introspect ourselves and make an impact in the lives of other for the better.