Leading Ourselves Forward - Positive and Productive Leadership in Times of Covid-19
Why productive leadership?
There isn’t a single person, business or organisation who hasn’t been touched and affected by the global pandemic that has seen our most vibrant and alive cities shut down, our most thriving sectors and industries dented or halted, and our core safety and basic human needs threatened.
Humanity has taken a huge hit. Not only have we tragically lost many precious souls to the virus itself, but the struggles and the financial losses incurred by businesses and households due to lockdown, furloughs and redundancies have and continue to impact in a very real way. Weddings have been canceled, sporting events banned, our children and young people’s education and lives have been disrupted and in general the world is feeling somewhat frazzled and weary.
There are still many basic but big and important questions knocking around such as
- “when will the airports reopen?”
- “when will I see my family again?”
- “will we all require a vaccination? And are we going to be forced to be microchipped if we wish to resume normal life?”
These uncertainties can cause overwhelming anxiety and stress. All the more so, to those who own a business, lead a team of people in a professional capacity or head up an organisation that is either in dire straits or in need of massive new measures to become Covid-safe, according to official guidelines. Leading ourselves let alone an entire group or network of people forwards in a positive and productive way can seem like a minefield.
As well as the massive upheavals and pressures that have arisen during these times, which understandably for many have been debilitating and exhausting, I have also seen firsthand – businesses, solopreneurs and startups rising to the occasion and finding innovative ways to harness the opportunities for growth and expansion in leading edge ways. Becoming fixated on the things they can do rather than succumbing to what stands in their way.
By no means am I implying that we should be ignoring or minimizing the difficulties we might be facing. Rather, I am reminding us that we can in fact use the situation as leverage to come out of this more aware, much stronger and more in alignment with our core values, bottom line and ethos.
There are a few foundations though that I believe to be key as we begin to re-build, resume and or recreate ourselves and our companies during the next six to twelve months. Whether in the confines of our own personal and professional self-leadership, or as we stand poised, as a leader in a professional setting to captain and navigate our ship and crew of people through these unchartered waters of post pandemic, it is vital that we keep in mind that we have all undergone some level of inner shift.
Physically, emotionally, mentally and within our material lives as in finances, systems and routines, each area will have been touched, perhaps even tainted by things like fear, uncertainty and even terror of loss, mystery, change or death. Priorities may have altered, and outlooks and attitudes might have been newly influenced. We must consider that as a humanity we are still in the midst of a transformational interlude and if we desire to not only coax the best out of ourselves and our people but also derive the best results and outcomes for our businesses and organisations, the emphasis must be strongly and steadfastly on the individual. Taking the human centred approach must be deployed, for it is our people who have the capacity to turn things around and make them good again.
Thriving people form the basis of a thriving life or company, and in my opinion there is no skipping over the importance of taking care of ourselves and our people in a holistic and complete way moving forward. This means that measures must be put in place to not only account for the possible physical, mental and emotional effects of the pandemic but also training and new systems must be introduced to ensure that we are working towards a continued equilibrium – with mind-body wellness becoming a priority both at home and at work.
What changes do we need to make to ensure productive leadership?
We must provide an environment and create a schedule that encourages and celebrates regular ongoing physical movement and nourishment. We have been starkly reminded of late of the importance of a strong and resilient body. Education is key but so is encouraging the development of a good relationship with the body so that solid and enjoyable habits can be developed over time, without the need for constant reminders. Become addicted to feeling good and the body’s own innate navigation system will do the rest. Daily mind – body activities such as yoga, meditation or any activity that allows the mind to take a break and the body’s inner compass to take the lead is a winning move.
The mind is the hub of everything. An unconstructive, negative mind will keep you stuck in undesirable situations and far away from desired outcomes. Develop a mindset that is positively focused, able to process negativity quickly and see the potential in situations. In short, cultivate a growth mindset. If the mind has dealt with trauma after trauma without having been given the chance to process, it will become rigid, heavy and governed by its wounds and fears. Take time to empty the mind of clutter through talking therapy and or journaling and add in as much positivity to your day as possible with things like positive affirmations and/or mind cleansing mantras.
Our emotional body, if left unaddressed, can accumulate into a heavy mass, weighing us down but also affecting every aspect of our life and wellbeing. Unprocessed emotions can literally make you sick.
Bypassing our emotions in favour of being strong, organised or productive is a mistake – we must say it how it is and practice kindness, empathy and compassion with ourselves and our people. What may seem trivial to one person, can be triggering and traumatic to another. Emotional hygiene and EQ must become a priority, now more than ever. Set aside time in your day and week for this and develop a habit of regular emotional cleansing.
How can we guarantee productive leadership post Covid-19 and beyond?
Growth and Development:
Each human being has an in-built default need for evolution – they are born to become better. During the time of lockdown, many have had extra time to contemplate their own existence, the meaning of their life and the levels of happiness they feel every day at home and at work. As you resume, take into account that the tasks, goals, priorities and projects that once fulfilled or excited you or your people may now have changed. An entire life overhaul is not necessary for all at this time. Some people are itching to get back to normal and that is totally fine. But taking an inventory of things will allow you to course correct or add in some scope for flexibility, if it is required. People who are growing on an individual scale are happier and far more able to contribute to the growth and expansion of an organisation.
The most positive and productive leadership, whether of self or others, can only come from individuals who are willing to accept that just like any relationship, it requires commitment, communication, empathy, compassion and kindness. Be patient with yourself as you step back in. Take time to listen to your people as they come back to work – make kindness matter and watch what happens!
About the Author:
Maria K is an international Coach, Speaker, Trainer, & Teacher with a knack for people development, motivation and optimal results.
British born Greek Cypriot, Maria, now splits her time between Goa, India and the UK, is an expert in guiding people to reach success in their chosen area while maintaining equilibrium in the other areas of their life.
Maria, who is the Author of I Am UpGrading, creator of UpGrade with Maria K podcast and manager of her online UpGrade community, has been deemed a sage by some of her clients, and is highly perceptive and intuitive; abilities that complement her professional training extremely well.
Utilising a fusion of Emotional Intelligence, Wellness Principles, Ancient Eastern Philosophy, Mindfulness, Western Counselling, Personal and Spiritual Development and Success Coaching, she performs dynamic interventions which produce tangible, optimal results.
Through uniquely designed programs and coaching Maria facilitates and fast tracks the actualisation of untapped potential and unrealised propensities in groups and individuals.
With a knack for motivation and bringing the best out of people, Maria’s passionate yet personable approach yields steadfast results and dramatic positive changes. Since no two people or organisations are the same, all programs are bespoke and uniquely designed.
As well as managing the critical issues at hand, Maria also works to instill practical systems and procedures to support the continuation of personal and professional growth and strengthening of basic foundations of individuals and teams, increasing immediate and long term performance and resilience