It’s Mental Health Week so who is supporting the leaders at the moments of stress? Leaders need to stay strong, positive and in control so that everyone feels reassured.
In a crisis good leadership is vital in helping others to prepare mentally and promote individual and systemic adaptability for the changes to come, an essential ingredient in all businesses during any transformation. Calm and stability from the top are required to create a level of certainty for employees. This is a big ask on top of everything else business owners, directors and senior managers are juggling.
Unfortunately, this change came about not by desire or business strategy but an imposed change due to the pandemic. This means leaders had no choice but to change. This shock predicament has led to uncertainty; there was no plan for this situation and no past experiences from which tap into.
High-risk environments trigger a neurological response of fear in all of us (fight or flight) which influences our decision-making process. This is a natural human response, so it applies to the leadership team too. The enormity of the task of getting people back to work in a safe environment with hygiene protocols and social distancing is overwhelming. Challenges and anxieties about implementing the new working world are not to be underestimated. Uncertainties about continuity of clients/customers, productivity and income is major concern to all company directors to ensure everyone has a job to return to. This leaves leaders, executives and senior managers feeling the considerable mental pressure whilst trying to maintain a positive, growth mindset.
The danger here is that the creative channels are naturally suppressed during the neurological status of fear, and sub-consciously people tend to be more reactive and cautious than proactive and innovative in this state. The challenge for leaders is to tap into their resilience and look beyond the immediate. Creating a new workplace built on maintaining good mental health during and post the crisis is a huge undertaking. Added together with their day job the pressures currently being experienced by leaders are enormous.
It is also an opportunity to evaluate the workplace, whether that is the ‘traditional’ HQ office, home office or local hub. We need to work together to promote a culture of well-being and support everyone for a more certain future. Now is the opportunity to review working practices, consult with your teams, and create a new culture built on the past and focused on the future. The culture, values, ethics, and environment of the business emanates from the top. It’s time to engage emotional intelligence.
Returning after lockdown is certainly is not going to be the same as returning from holiday! We are all going to need an abundance of resilience at every level.
But who are going to support the leaders? It is important to seek help when needed. Seeking professional coaching support, especially when you are feeling overwhelmed, not in control and vulnerable helps to provide a safe place to think for anyone.
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