- Posted by jwp_institute
- On April 23, 2020
- 0 Comments
During a crisis, there’s nothing more valuable than leaders who are calm, grounded, and supportive of their team. Putting together a plan to lead others through an emergency can be overwhelming. So, as this pandemic sweeps the globe and communities grapple with the consequences, it seems only right that I share the insights I’ve received on what it takes to be a mindful leader in times of crisis.
Put Yourself First
First and foremost, a leader must fill up their own cup before they can fill up others. This will look different for everyone, but you must ground yourself with the skills that work best for you. Coping skills and self-care practices include things like prayer and meditation, healthy sleep and diet habits, exercise, being in nature, and staying connected to your loved ones. If you are attending to your activities of daily living, then it will show in your ability to support and inspire those around you. Taking care of yourself first isn’t selfish; it’s the opposite. We put ourselves first so that we have the energy and strength necessary to show up in a meaningful way for others when they need us most.
Offer Support and Kindness
As teams wade through a crisis, they are looking to their leaders for not only strength and energy, but also to be great listeners, to be kind, and for encouragement to keep moving forward in a positive way. A supportive leader knows when to listen with compassion and just be present, and also when to step in to lend a hand. When you don’t know which the right move is, simply asking the person “how can I help” can shed light on what they need at that moment from you.
We all struggle in unique ways. This is true all the time, but it is especially true right now. As the virus spreads, so does our fear and stress. Some find themselves facing increased depression and anxiety symptoms. Others are confronting their mortality and that of their loved ones. Perhaps this is an opportunity to learn more about yourself and your team, and how you work together – for better and worse. I suggest creating an open-door policy with your colleagues and those you lead. Create more spaces in your team’s daily workflow for reflection, introspection, laughter, and flexibility. Ask people what would feel supportive to them and let them show you where they feel like they could use a boost. This practice will strengthen connections on your team and help others to feel calm, centered, and confident. Make sure you create time to follow up on these interactions with conversations, emails, or texts to say, “I’m thinking about you.”
Respond like a Professional
Part of the reason the spread of this novel coronavirus is so incredibly anxiety-producing for many of us is that it feels so unknown. Yet humanity has faced unknown pandemics in the past, and we have survived.
In my next blog, I’m going to share with you some insider tips from my daughter, who is a crisis therapist that spends her days assessing and mitigating crises. Times of crisis present opportunities for growth, resilience, and to develop new coping skills that carry us forward. Use this time to remind yourself of your personal strengths and to practice gratitude. Thank you for reading, and until next time, be well.