These last several weeks have been really overwhelming for most of us.
Even if you’re not watching the daily news coverage, just the fact that so many people are displaced from normal work life, and the awkwardness of trying to do anything while always standing 6 feet apart from others, and the emails we are getting from every business telling us about their virus response plans…. It’s all very unsettling.
And yet- this is a time when we need each other.
We need strength and connection, and we need some hope and good news.
We need this in our families, and in our new, “virtual workplaces,” and with our managers and co-workers.
We need each other more than ever.
And honestly, this is a time to actively BUILD trust.
The way you show up with others matters.
We have a great opportunity right now to step IN to this situation and LEAD at our “high-trust best.” So, here’s the tip of the week:
Pay attention to your emotional experience.
Now is the time to practice and to develop and strengthen our ability to stay connected to ourselves and to get to know our own inner landscape of thoughts and feelings.
The thing is, emotion is contagious (I probably shouldn’t say that right now), but you know how easy it is to pick up someone else’s mood.
If you are anxious and stressed, you can easily hand that over unwittingly to your team.
Your emotional state influences everyone around you.
Conversely, if you can stay calm and present, then others will be able to connect to that energy too.
When I was a kid, we had a family boat and every year we would take it out on Lake Tahoe and we would drive the boat all the way around the Lake.
We’d fill the boat with mom and dad, sister and brother, aunts and uncles and grandparents… whoever was willing to cram in there with the picnic basket and water skiis and loads of beach towels, and off we would go for a 10 hour tour stopping at all of our favorite beaches.
One year we were on our way around the lake and something happened and the boat started taking on water.
As a little kid, I was oblivious to what that really meant.
But my aunt understood the enormity of this, and I’ll never forget how she stood up and said, “don’t panic kids! Don’t panic!”
And honestly, it’s always stayed with me because I wasn’t panicked until I heard her voice, and then I started to get really scared.
Anyway- that one ended well. My dad saved the day and we made it home.
I tell you this because as leaders you’re setting the tone in your boat…
The real difference is that unlike me as a kid, the people around you are probably already anxious. Most people are feeling some anxiety at all times right now.
So step up and be the emotional leader!
Or at least, do your team a favor and try to monitor your own emotion..
I’m not saying fake it.. that’s not the answer..
But know that emotions are contagious, and you are setting a tone, and if you are out-of touch with your own emotions right now, then you may very well snap at someone, or unload your own anxiety on them, and that can diminish trust.
So, connect with yourself throughout the day.
Ask yourself, “what am I feeling right now? What do I need?”
If you are feeling anxious, or scattered, or tired, or manic, just pause, and feel that feeling.
It will pass soon. Take a few deep breaths, and try to move your body and just let it be.
This small practice will help you stay centered and it will allow you to make better choices about how you show up for others.
And, every time you practice this, you will get a little better at it. You will be able to USE these skills, I promise! Not just now, but in the future.
This is the moment for leadership, so stay connected to yourself.
I’ll see you next time. Stay well, and go be a trust builder!