“Deep within every crisis is an opportunity for something beautiful.” – Kate McGahan
No one lives a lifetime without experiencing a significant crisis to some degree; some people seem to have more than their share. Understanding how to navigate the unique circumstances inherent in COVID-19 is invaluable. Our responses to the length and severity of the emotional toll of being sick or quarantined, determine our overall health and well being moving forward.
Staying mentally and emotionally fit is most challenging when facing these challenges for weeks on end:
Fear of contracting the virus and passing it on to family members
The trauma of losing friends and relatives
Boredom, anxiousness, and loneliness of limited social interaction
Depression and hopelessness during extended times of quarantine.
Easing Into a New Normal
How well you as leader ease into your new normal depends on your responses to the relational and environmental impact COVID-19 and prolonged quarantining has had on you. A positive, realistic response to the pandemic and a prolonged quarantine can stimulate productive thinking, which gives rise to creativity. Creativity inspires new ideas that can develop new opportunities.
Preparing Your Business for the Return to Normalcy
Business owners having to navigate the mental and emotional minefields are now thinking through ways to safely reopen their businesses. Who comes back first?Which staff members are ready to return to work, when, and under what conditions? It is important to outline differing scenarios based on the employee’s current, or recently past, health status with regard to COVID-19.
Keep in mind we’re all returning to a new normal, things will be different. Be aware that we all process things differently, give people space to process changes. Utilizing phases to ease into daily routines is always safer. Open discussions and possibly a Q&A with a Mental Health professional may help as well. (see footnote 1 for more)
Encouraging your people will be temporary unless you plan to develop an affirming environment moving forward. Highly intentional leaders have been surging ahead planning and preparing for the next six to twelve months while other leaders have been surviving current events hoping to make it through the crisis.
3 L’s for Successfully Emerging from COVID-19
“Successful people recognize crisis as a time for change – from lesser to greater, smaller to bigger.” – Edwin Louis Cole
In a crisis good leaders seize opportunities, add more value and plan for growth. I encourage you to set aside some quality think time and reflect on the following 3 L’s.
Listen Guard your mind in a time of crisis, ask questions that yield answers that give you insight into the needs of those around you as you navigate this sudden shift in life. Nothing allows you to connect with people like listening to them.
Mark Cole writes, “I want to encourage you – commit yourself to improve your listening. Maybe for you the first step is to schedule a listening occasion. Set aside one hour this week with the most important person in your life for the sole purpose of listening to them. Give them your full attention and spend less than one-third of the time talking.
As you develop your ability to listen, you will be amazed at the value it adds to your leadership.” (2)
Learn Larry King said, “You gotta ask ‘why’ questions. ‘Why did you do this?’ A ‘why’ question you can’t answer with one word.” Ask yourself “why did we make the decision we did?” or “Why do we believe that to be the best option? Did we have other options?” Keep turning those thoughts over in your mind until the reasons become clear.
Has the crisis distracted you from your purpose? If so, why? Are you advancing your stated objectives or delaying them? Be specific with your answers and take your time thinking through them.
Launch During a crisis good leaders are strategizing while others are stressing. If you have been planning during the crisis you are already ahead of the curve. Think through the following discussing them with your teams and prepare to launch.
How are we using our time to improve ourselves for future initiatives?
What has this crisis taught us about ourselves and how can we better serve our customers/clients moving forward?
How are we preparing to emerge from this crisis better than ever?
What new initiatives are we creating to strengthen ourselves and those we serve to better handle crises in the future?
“Good leaders need a positive agenda, not just an agenda of dealing with crisis.” – Michael Porter