During this time of complexity and confusion, there are stories of growth and transformation that are great lessons to take into the new year.
That is the focus of this post, how to be the best leader you can be during these frustrating times.
I want to respond to many of the emails and calls I have received recently from business leaders and emerging leaders about how to be a caring person and not get caught into either the “Poor Them” or “Poor Me” syndrome.
Some are saying “I need to take care of myself, my company, my team, and my family now. I can’t be bothered helping others. I don’t think I am selfish, just doing what I need to do to stay afloat. I’m not complaining, I just can’t be there for anyone outside of my pod.”
Others are saying “I want to help but not sure if it will mean anything. I’m being careful about what I give and holding back more than in past years. Is this being like Scrooge or just being sensible?”
And still, others are saying “What is a new way to be happy and charitable during this very trying end of the year where holiday time is quieter and yes, even sad?”
In the past pre-Covid years my team would do a great off-site program with many companies, especially in December.
It’s called “Build and Give” where teams would compete to put together tricycles and decorate them and donate to local charities for children who would light up at the sight of a shiny new bike for Christmas.
The youngsters would come at the end of the program to pick out their favorite bike and there would be lots of hugging and laughing (remember hugging? remember laughing?).
The comments would be how rewarding it was to do something that would make others happy.
Many companies loved this give to get ideas and kept this going by doing some type of community work throughout the year.
This year when asked what can replace the Build and Give program, I looked for the common denominator underneath the fun and creativity of the program.
Here is what I concluded for 2020 into 2021.
What you can give to get is simple, yet not easy.
It is to create a climate with everyone you connect to, you offer emotional/ psychological safety.
THIS is the best gift a leader can give right now.
Here are some ways to make this time just a bit healthier and happier:
- Watch your words: Communicate in a careful way. Ask more questions and give room for silence.
- Expect less: That’s correct. This is not a time for being a leader requiring extreme stretch goals. Of course, get work done yet don’t create this as a time of gut-clenching overwork.
- Express understanding: Let those in your pod know they are being heard and their wants and needs are certainly being factored into the daily agenda.
- One step at a time: Keep the long -term vision strong yet keep today’s tasks possible without causing over the top stress.
There is no price tag you can put on emotional and psychological safety. It comes from within and those who master this art of staying calm in the midst of uncertainty are the leaders that are appreciated, the ones others will follow willingly and without griping.
Give the gift of emotional and psychological safety this year. It will be remembered long after this pandemic is over.
My question to each of you is: How are you staying strong now? Who can you talk with when it feels like the world is closing in? How do you help others feel safe when the whole world feels like Jello?
Let me hear from you.
I’m offering an overview strategy session to help you
Have a Happy, Peaceful, and Comforting Holiday
P.S. I would like to give as a holiday gift my short e-book on The 5 Steps of Leadership Development that can put a positive perspective on how to communicate and inspire those around you to give their best.