HERE AND NOW
What does leadership look like? It can be confusing to break down leadership. Let’s face it, we do not always have the best examples. One minute we see a leader worth emulating and the next, we discover their deep and unforgiving faults.
Our topic for this month is COURAGE. While we chose this focus before recent events in our world unfolded, it obviously stands as a righteous virtue in what we are experiencing today. The tears we have shed over the past weeks as we watch “leadership” play out in various forms has been heartbreaking. Our lessons are right in front of us— teaching us first-hand how we do and do not want to lead.
Over the past month, I am struck by how our current events have changed our urgency around what is important, how we feel, and what we value. There is a quote I have seen surface in numerous blogs over the past week by William Faulkner who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1949. He states, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”
Some say the deeds of the past continue to shape the present. Every moment we create, every event that shapes us, and every action that impacts our society is a brick that paves the way to a new present and a reconstructed future. At any point, a moment, decision, or choice is creating who we are individually and collectively. At any point, we can change our trajectory; making every step we choose critical to both our present and future.
As leaders, we walk these paths daily. The hope is our courage brings us closer to the “right” things, people, conversations, and decisions. The hope is that we can step forward with clarity amongst the chaos and lead our teams and organizations to a better future.
The past years have challenged us on countless levels. Despite our collective desire to move forward, recapture what used to be, and gain a better sense of control over our lives and circumstances, what we have come to learn is that we cannot force human behavior or beliefs. Yet, despite the difficulties we have endured as individuals and as a society, we also learned we are more resilient than we thought, we have a greater capacity for clarity and action, and we are more deeply connected than we may have believed.
We have COURAGE beyond what we even knew was possible.
DID YOU KNOW?
Don’t Stop Talking to Your Team Members Even When It’s Tough
It’s clear that we are living in a difficult time. The last two years have accentuated what has likely been building in our social environments for decades and it has left leaders wondering how to communicate with their team members and employees about such difficult political and cultural issues— driven from deep emotion. The recent events (inflation, COVID, invasion of Ukraine, supply chain issues) have placed an ever-increasing stress load on employees with 87% of Americans reporting that the last two years have brought a constant stream of crisis. With the intense role work plays in our lives, more employees are desiring these conversations and too often, leaders, while they want to support their employees, are ill-equipped to navigate the intense emotions these discussions can bring.
So how are you keeping your team connected in today’s new work environments?
According to CMS Wire, 97% of employees believe communication impacts their task efficacy on a daily basis. It would seem this information is accurate as a McKinsey report shows a 20-25% increase in productivity for teams that are well-connected. Pumble workplace communication statistics, 2021
Good communication has always been key to the success of an organization, with 97% of employees believing that communication impacts their task efficacy. But when the pandemic began, it caused an unprecedented need not only for communication but relational communication. While staff members and leaders alike began experiencing many of the same emotions and challenges, leaders were also tasked with caring for and leading their teams through the uncertainty even while not having any answers themselves. Many leaders who previously only provided communication through one-way mediums, such as newsletters and mass emails, found it was imperative that they also learn how to communicate interpersonally, with empathy, compassion, and vulnerability.
And the fact is, relational communication is here to stay. As people have re-evaluated what they do and where they work, they have also reassessed the type of organization they are willing to work for. Those organizations that transparently communicate with their employees, and share the same values are the ones that have been able to retain their workforce.
As we move forward, our work landscape looks vastly different, while some people are returning to their offices, others have remained completely remote, and yet others have developed a hybrid of the two. We know that communication remains key to the success of our organizations, so how do we ensure we continue having relational conversations and communication in these new worlds? Here are some things we have learned about communication through the pandemic that we should weave into the fabric of our work lives for the future:
- People want to talk with co-workers and leaders, not be talked at by them. This brings forward the understanding that empathy is essential to fully connect with others. As people are still processing many different experiences from the past two years, offering authentic compassion and empathy for their situations helps them work through their circumstances so they can move on.
- Everyone has a need to feel included and informed. Remote and hybrid offices have brought a new dynamic to the complexities of communicating in the workplace. While you may feel you are overcommunicating, those employees who are not bumping into you in the hallway do not always have the benefit of those informal conversations as those who are present on a daily basis. To ensure all employees feel included, having a plan for providing clear and consistent information, even for the small stuff to keep all staff up to date can ward off miscommunications and feelings of being less important.
- People communicate best in various ways. Social media and digital communication options have never been so abundant. While they will never be able to replace face-to-face communication in the relational communication realm, it has made it easier to stay in contact with each other even across state lines and throughout the world. With options for texting, emailing, video calling, or voice mailing, it is important to learn your employees’ preferred way to communicate and then ensure you are offering options to keep them connected.
- Ensure everyone is included in team training or retreats. There will be times when you will need your entire staff together, whether for team training, or company retreats. Scheduling well in advance to ensure remote staff is also available to attend is a great way to ensure everyone has an opportunity to participate.
As you work to increase your relational communication, think COURAGE:
C- Communicate Personally. Leaders must use their communication to deepen relationships. This is when we see the greatest wellness and engagement benefits.
O- Own your emotions. Leaders are also amongst the 97% of employees who desire more communication. These are emotional times of high stress, and we cannot ignore or dismiss the way our emotions surface. Take steps to ensure you not only own your emotions but also own the impact of them.
U- Understand. Give yourself permission to understand your own viewpoint, that of others, and where you might have biases or opinions that are shaped by false narratives. Can you listen to understand and allow the conversation to support your team? Can you be non-judgmental and hold space for whatever needs to surface?
R- Really Listen. Much of the time, our team members only need to be heard; to have a venue to express their fears, anxieties, guilt, or frustrations. These conversations can help us get to a place of optimism but require someone who can really listen. Creating the right places and structures for the listening will ensure the best discussions occur.
A- Ask Powerful Questions. Too often, leaders want to fix the situation. Our current environment is too complex to “fix”. Use powerful questions in your conversations to deepen thoughts, help team members arrive at new perspectives, or release anxieties that are holding them hostage. Consider: What are the greatest fears keeping you stuck right now? What support do you need to better cope? What is within your control or outside of your control? How might you release those things outside of your control?
G- Give Space for Uncertainty. We do not have the power to address all these issues, nor do we always know the right thing to do. Allow yourself to not have the answers.
E- Evoke Courage. These times require us to bring forward a level of courage that we are not accustomed to accessing.
GOOD FOR YOU
Reignite Your Passion with Spot Coaching
As you navigate the impact of the pandemic, your energy reserves have likely been tapped out, you may be tired and worn down. You need an opportunity for an engaging conversation with someone who is impartial and unbiased towards your organizational situation. Simply being able to talk through the difficulties and challenges of the past two years authentically and freely can help you release the past and move toward the present. It can empower you with the knowledge and confidence to do the same for your team.
Option 1: One Hour Coaching Session $299
Includes a one-on-one conversation with one of our professional coaches who will be your sounding board as you clarify your goals, gain self-awareness, and re-invigorate your resilience for your current circumstances and future endeavors.
Option 2: One Hour Coaching Session + Hogan Assessment $699
Includes everything in the one-hour coaching session + a Hogan assessment and a 30-minute debriefing session with one of our certified Hogan specialists. Hogan is an assessment tool that offers profound insights into who you are, what you value, and how you “derail” under stress. A detailed discussion with a coach following your assessment will help you gain a deep understanding of your results and how you can enhance your effectiveness.
Listen to our new video to learn helpful tips about how to achieve and maintain balance in both your work and personal lives. Watch
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