08 Apr Leadership in times of Corona
KEEPING UP AS A LEADER IN TIMES OF CORONA: MY TOP 6 TIPS
To all the leaders & entrepreneurs who are navigating through stormy days, as this tiny little virus, called Corona, is still holding our breath and wants to take it away!
You are the lighthouses for many people right now, as many of them might be out there in the storm, floating like little boats (in their Homeoffices) and not sure about where to go.
Some of you might be going through hard times deciding:
- how to go on with your business,
- with whom to go on,
- whom to dismiss if the actual situation requires it (especially having this kind of conversations is sometimes very hard – we are all human beings!)
- how to keep up a good, productive space/culture for those who stay, dealing with all the fear and insecurity that is probably around.
In order to be able to keep shining as a lighthouse, giving direction, safety and security for yourself and others, here are my TOP 6 TIPS for you:
First of all: BREATHE!
I am serious! Especially in stressful times we tend to forget to breathe, which weakens our immune system and we lose touch with ourselves (and the people around us). Breathing helps us to stay connected with ourselves and in the here and now. So, breathe deeply right now!… and get used to it. My suggestion: every time your phone rings, TAKE A DEEEEEP BREATH!
Second: TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF!
Or, to use the words of the stewardess in the airplane: “Put on your safety mask first!”
There are many people depending on you and your physical and mental health right now – including yourself. Besides breathing, be cautious with your body and mind: try to sleep and rest enough, eat healthy and regularly, move your ass – if possible in nature – and meditate or do something else that relaxes you and keeps you focused (at least some minutes a day). Take care of your body posture and body language. A straight spine and an erect head help you to be focused and clear (vs. shoulders and head down – which makes you feel depressed and down).
So, every time you take a deep breath, also open your eyes, stretch your spine and raise your head– as if someone would pull an imagined thread upwards. Also your tongue upwards, slightly pressed to the palate, makes you feel relaxed and awake.
Third: CHOOSE JOY! (over FEAR)
Besides all the negative news that we are bombarded with right now, it can be difficult to stay optimistic and not let yourself down. Therefore, it is important that you also take care of which kind of information you are consuming. As our energy flows where our attention goes, now it is very important to control your information „inflow“. You decide! What do you see/feel/hear right now? Do you see only the crisis, unemployment, death people? Or do you also see the good things that are happening? The solidarity, the small acts of kindness? Your family? It is up to you to decide! Be thankful even for the smallest things – and there are so many – just look around and see them!
Allow yourself to actively choose joy – and smile. Now!
Fourth: ASK FOR SUPPORT!
As leaders we often think that we have to do all on our own and asking someone for advice is seen as being weak. This situation is new for all of us. Nonetheless we can help and support each other. Now is the time for leaders and all of us to work together and unite!
Ask yourself, who could support me now? As a mentor or a coach. As a friend or sparing partner? Who could give me advice or support? And ask for it! Now!
Fifth: TALK ! TALK! TALK! …TO YOUR PEOPLE and DON’T BE AFRAID OF DIFFICULT CONVERSATIONS!
In general, TALK TO YOUR PEOPLE! Many of your co-workers might be working from home now, being insecure about their health and future and feeling isolated from information which they normally get from you or their colleagues. They need to be informed about next steps, and even if these steps are tiny ones. It is part of your role as a leader that you are there for your people. They are like little boats in the stormy sea, not knowing what’s coming next and where they are floating. Guide them through the storm, even if you don’t know how this will go on. Saying “I don’t know yet” is better than saying nothing and opening up for speculations and fear. Create your own Corona communication plan. How often do you meet your co-workers (in real or virtual)? What’s the agenda? Give room for questions, personal things, fears, etc. and also open up for positive inputs. As always, where there is a lot of negativity, there is also a lot of positivity.
How you will deal with this situation now, will later be rewarded (or not) in terms of loyalty, thankfulness and performance.
And DON’T BE AFRAID OF DIFFICULT CONVERSATIONS as you will grow with every single one – as a human being and as a leader. E.g. if you have taken the decision to let someone go, take into consideration the following points:
- Ask for support if you feel insecure!
- Mentally, go through the conversation before and think about what you are going to say
- Breathe and give yourself the time to be in a good, positive state
- Don’t feel guilty! This doesn’t help anyone!
- Create an interference-free space
- Say what you have to say and be authentic
- Give the other one time to ask questions.
- Don’t be afraid of feelings, especially tears (yours and your employees’)!
- Don’t make any promises, if you can’t keep them.
And Sixth: LEARN & THINK ABOUT THE FUTURE!
We won’t go back to the normality we knew before Corona invaded our lives. I am convinced that our new normal AFTER we have beat Corona will look differently. Don’t get stuck now and widen your time-line to a time AFTER. And there will be a time after as probably more than 99% of us will survive ;).
What can and will you do different now and after corona? What is this situation an opportunity for? For you as a human being and as a leader? For your business?
So, keep shining, lighthouse – even brighter than before!
Take care & if you need me, I’ll be there!