The crisis is still happening now.
Your leadership is required now to help your people stay as stable as they can in this upended, unpredictable world. What you say and what you do is extremely important. You can help them.
A few summers ago, I had almost two liters of fluid in my pericardium sac. I was in a full-blown cardiac tamponade. It felt like a cross between drowning and suffocating. As the medical team whisked me down the hall for an emergency procedure, the attending cardio doctor was telling me to stop taking such short breaths. Was she kidding me? How does a person breathe when they can’t breathe? I frankly thought I was doing a great job!
This humorous Bob Newhart YouTube video called “Stop it!” illustrates how telling people to “stop it ” is rarely, if ever helpful. As a leader, you may be tempted to tell your people to “stop it.” However, starting where they are at will help them to breathe easier.
During a COVID-19 Preparedness Team Training with a client, the group explored what to say and not to say during COVID-19 – listed below. They found the exercise actually a fun release from some of the stress.
What we don’t want to say to our people:
· Suck it up
· You’ll be fine
· Deal with it
· Everything will be ok
· This isn’t serious
· Don’t worry
· You won’t lose your job
· This will pass soon
· This doesn’t affect
· The virus is not that big of a deal
· You’re not the only one effected by this
· You’re young, you’ll be fine
What we do want to be saying to our people:
· We’re here for you
· I know you’re afraid, let’s talk through it
· How can I help?
· How’s your family doing?
· What is the hardest thing about this for you?
Help them breathe differently, not by telling them to stop it, but by compassionate connection. Millions of people around the world will need to breathe differently right now and you can help your people. Give them hope for tomorrow by leading them today.
Lead Individually and Corporately
Ask how are “you all” doing and ask how are YOU doing. Make it corporate and personal. When you do this, you will help prevent team members from falling through the cracks. Some of them will need you to check in with them.
Be aware that those who worked well independently before may need a little more attention now. Do a quick check in and ask what they need so they know you’re leading in a way that makes sense to them.
Same Leadership, New Way
The Lord continually reminded Joshua to be strong and of good courage as he led the people to a place they had never been before. Joshua was a good leader, but he didn’t rely on his strength – he placed his trust in God.
You know how to lead. The same skills that you’ve used in the past are the ones you will use now. You just need to use them in a new way so that you can make it through this crisis as effectively as you can. A lot is changing right now, but the one thing that is not changing is what matters most – you and your people. I believe in you and continue to support you as we all pivot on a moment’s notice. Breathe deeply, trust the Lord and His love for you and draw confidently from the skills and experiences He has given you.