Shout out for the leaders

hudson-hintze-vpxeE7s-my4-unsplash_cropped.jpgPhoto by Hudson Hintze on Unsplash

 

It’s Mental Health Week so who is supporting the leaders at the moments of stress? Leaders need to stay strong, positive and in control so that everyone feels reassured.

In a crisis good leadership is vital in helping others to prepare mentally and promote individual and systemic adaptability for the changes to come, an essential ingredient in all businesses during any transformation. Calm and stability from the top are required to create a level of certainty for employees. This is a big ask on top of everything else business owners, directors and senior managers are juggling.

Unfortunately, this change came about not by desire or business strategy but an imposed change due to the pandemic. This means leaders had no choice but to change. This shock predicament has led to uncertainty; there was no plan for this situation and no past experiences from which tap into.

High-risk environments trigger a neurological response of fear in all of us (fight or flight) which influences our decision-making process. This is a natural human response, so it applies to the leadership team too.  The enormity of the task of getting people back to work in a safe environment with hygiene protocols and social distancing is overwhelming. Challenges and anxieties about implementing the new working world are not to be underestimated. Uncertainties about continuity of clients/customers, productivity and income is major concern to all company directors to ensure everyone has a job to return to.  This leaves leaders, executives and senior managers feeling the considerable mental pressure whilst trying to maintain a positive, growth mindset.

The danger here is that the creative channels are naturally suppressed during the neurological status of fear, and sub-consciously people tend to be more reactive and cautious than proactive and innovative in this state. The challenge for leaders is to tap into their resilience and look beyond the immediate. Creating a new workplace built on maintaining good mental health during and post the crisis is a huge undertaking. Added together with their day job the pressures currently being experienced by leaders are enormous.

It is also an opportunity to evaluate the workplace, whether that is the ‘traditional’ HQ office, home office or local hub. We need to work together to promote a culture of well-being and support everyone for a more certain future. Now is the opportunity to review working practices, consult with your teams, and create a new culture built on the past and focused on the future. The culture, values, ethics, and environment of the business emanates from the top. It’s time to engage emotional intelligence.

Returning after lockdown is certainly is not going to be the same as returning from holiday! We are all going to need an abundance of resilience at every level.

But who are going to support the leaders?  It is important to seek help when needed. Seeking professional coaching support, especially when you are feeling overwhelmed, not in control and vulnerable helps to provide a safe place to think for anyone.

#coaching #opportunity #leadership #workplace #Mentalhealthweek #growthmindset #workplaceculture #businesstransformation

BUILDING BLOCKS OF OPPORTUNITY

11 May 2020  |  Behavioural Change, Coaching, Workplaces, Company Shift,

Equality at home, Evolution of the Work Space, Baby Boomers, Opportunity,

Wellness, Work Life Balance, Workplace,

 

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‘Stay home, saves lives’ the government instructed. So, as a diligent citizen I did.

Like many in the built environment my career has been forged on building relationships, meeting people, attending events and networking. A working life full of teams, clients, consultants and contractors of all ages and all working together towards a common goal. I am now self-employed and work from my home office in the garden, but my world is still about meeting people and networking.

The uncertainty of these unprecedented times and imminent isolation created real internal anxiety for me. This translated into a lack of concentration, not sleeping well, and walking listlessly around the house: I felt adrift. Does this sound familiar? These initial behaviours are the classic neurological response to ‘threat’, a feeling of being overwhelmed with minimal creative thinking available.

It was purely a reaction to the idea of being alone and feeling vulnerable. The reality: I was safe at home with an extremely low risk of contracting Covid 19. Having logically assessed the situation, anxiety dwindled, and I began to enjoy the ‘freedom’ that isolation gave me.

I am aware that everyone’s Covid 19 experience is different. Influencing factors vary enormously. I am an architect and a qualified business coach with an interested in how the ‘other than conscious’ mind controls how we response to our environment. My response is personal to me but we all have similar unnerving reactions to the same situation of because the coronavirus lock down is a new experience and our brains don’t have a similar memory from which to draw a viable solution, therefore a threat is detected

Talking to other professional friends I began to consider whether our generational tribe and characteristics have an influence on our reactions to the lockdown? As a baby boomer I confess to having a huge reserve of post-World War II optimism. Does this account for my positive attitude towards the isolation? Many of my generation gain their self-worth directly from their professional achievements. Has confidence been removed from those on furlough or those still putting in a hard day’s work but doing so with less visibility to their line managers and peer group? Or has this given them the opportunity to find self-respect and pride in other ways?

How will we response to the end of lockdown? I have no illusions. It will most definitely be different. But how different and how will it affect ‘me’ is unclear at the moment? Does this ambiguity of the future create more anxiety? Yes, however as the eternal optimist I’m looking forward to my glass being half full of wine and already beginning to think of the opportunities for positive change that lies ahead. I’m writing a journal of thoughts about what I like about the lock down, what I want to retain after we return to a ‘new norm’. I’m also logging things I don’t like in the lockdown, and habitual things from the normal days which I would like to discard and leave behind. This is not just about my work environment but also how I process challenges and outcomes I have encountered, embracing the introvert in my normal extroverted personality.

As an extrovert I did think this would have a fundamental negative effect on my mental adaptation to being alone, but it hasn’t. Once the anxiety had subsided (about 4 days) I could be more creative in my thought process. Social websites, such as Zoom, have provided the conduit for communication to backfill the void created by social distancing providing extroverts with the necessary social interaction needed for exchange of ideas, a relationship lifeline for isolation 

I take comfort that all my colleagues and professional contacts, are all in lockdown, physically apart but communally finding a solution to make it work. I feel consolation in knowing we are all in it together… and it’s OK being alone too.

Over the last few weeks I have spoken with several professional contacts, especially Amanda Armitage my friend and former coachee, about their lock down experiences. For a Millennial perspective, I recommend Amanda’s blog (link:The Path to Paradise).