There is a growing appreciation of the level of disruption being created as a result of this pandemic. It would be a missed opportunity if the focus of leadership were to be just on getting back to how it was before. In the words of Churchill: “Never let a good crisis go to waste.”
The challenge for some leaders will be to shift from focusing primarily on goals and outcomes to putting the well-being of their people first. A recent Harvard Business Review included the following quote from a leader within Facebook, “If you want to keep your people — especially your stars — it’s time to pay more attention to how you design their work. Most companies design jobs and then slot people into them. Our best managers sometimes do the opposite: When they find talented people, they’re open to creating jobs around them.”
As we look to create safe, inspiring environments post lockdown, designing new ways of working and listening to and co-creating with those people involved has never been more relevant. How can leaders maintain team cohesion, build engagement and support team members to thrive while maintaining social distancing?
The statistics on employee engagement (pre-Covid) remain stubbornly static, with only around one third of the UK workforce actively engaged. It’s never been more important to draw on the energies of the 64% as a source of untapped potential.
We know that psychologically healthy, resilient people build healthier, resilient teams. It’s important that team members feel able to call out a low quality of mind when they notice it within their team. This could mean following up with a colleague after a meeting to see if they are OK, owning up to their own low quality of mind, or pointing out potential conflicts and not remaining silent in the face of behaviours that contradict values, such as arrogance, aggression or insecurity.
We all have the natural capacity to be leaders. In this crisis, most people have seen the relevance and importance of lockdown and working from home, so have got on with finding creative ways of making it work for themselves. When we communicate with clarity and purpose, treat people honourably and with genuine respect, we find we can trust them to find their own solutions, and achieve a deeper connection.
When we see the implications that quality of mind has to performance and potential it unleashes a culture of thriving, well-being and resilience. We see the truth and relevance of separate realities, we understand that we all have the capacity to overthink, to feel insecure, and therefore we know not to take it so seriously. We are less likely to fall into the trap of judging ourselves and others or making decisions from a low quality of mind. We intuitively know that the best we can do in any moment is to listen deeply to others, with nothing on our mind, without judgement or expectation. This is the quickest and most effective way to build positive, nurturing relationships.