I’ve written before that all of us are leaders in one way or another. We are leaders in our workplaces, within our family and in our communities. The seismic shock of recent weeks has left many (who were previously strong, confident leaders) feeling lost, under-confident and still finding their feet in quicksand.
My coaching practice has now moved totally online, and the issues presented to me by clients have moved from a wide variety to one common theme: ‘How do I lead myself and others through this crisis?‘
This week I thought I’d best serve you by summarising some nuggets of wisdom from an article published in the New York Times this week. It was written by a former Army General and a former Navy Seal based on their experiences of leading through 9/11.
They suggest four behaviours you can focus on. They are easy to do and applicable for all who lead others (staff, teams, family or community).
1: Be visible – don’t hide! Troops need to see the leader, standing tall, confident and calm. Even if the leader doesn’t feel this inside, doing it will both convey calm and actually help create calm within.
2: Tell the truth – don’t deny reality. Staff at the frontline often see or know stuff before you do. Talking openly about the loss of a big order shows that you know the fact, share their concern and are being honest with them, which will nourish their trust in you.
3: Delegate more than your gut tells you to. You might be inclined to grab the reins in difficult times but this does you and them no good. Let them do what they do best. Trust them like you trust them in ‘peacetime’. Your job is to lead from a strategic point of view. By all means get into the trenches the odd time if needed and to show your allegiance and willingness to muck in, but don’t spend all day there.
4: Ramp up your compassion. When you feel you are being thoughtful and accommodating enough, do it some more. It can’t be overdone. This is something to be particularly aware of if you’re suddenly leading teams who are now working remotely. You are missing cues that might indicate their distress. Assume they are distressed and adjust your behaviour accordingly. I have read separately about companies in New York who ramped up compassion in those raw days after 9/11. The return on that investment of time and care was very little turnover of staff and a fully committed workforce when normality returned.
Coaching sessions right now are addressing these issues in real time. Because they are done on a one-to-one basis they are really impactful for building confidence and leadership capacity in a hurry. If you are a manager, business owner or the head of a family unit and you need need help with how you can lead yourself and others through this crisis, please contact me. One session is likely all you need and I can accommodate you with a booked session within a few days.
Until next week, stay safe.
All the best,
P.S. Check the range of options I have put in place to make coaching and resilience development as accessible as possible for all and to suit all budgets, including a series of daily posts on ‘Building Resilience During Coronavirus‘ currently underway and free to view over on Facebook