Especially during turbulent times, we may be asking our teams to function at a much higher level. We might be tempted to demand our staff to “pull this out of the bag” or “to step up”. But remember, our teams are the heartbeat and pulse of our company and each member of our team brings their heart and mind to work (physically or remotely). The days of saying “leave your problems at the door” are over, we now know that it is impossible to leave our feelings, our emotions and our thoughts at the door or to switch them off from 9 to 5 each day. However, we can help our teams to manage these feelings, emotions and thoughts better, so that they will be able to work more effectively without burning themselves out.
Leadership is about showing our humanity, leadership is about empathy, about compassion. Leadership is about creating psychological safety, about making our teams feel connected. Leadership is about creating a work environment that fosters a culture of trust and collaboration. Leadership is about engaging the hearts and the minds of our teams.
Harvard Business Review recently published a report showing that “41% of workers feel burned out due to factors like working remotely, working longer hours, juggling family demands, threatened job security and fear of unsafe working environments”.
All of the above will have a negative impact on our team’s performance and may lead to increased stress and possible burnout. For our teams to “pull it out of the bag”, our job as leaders is to practice empathy, kindness and compassion and help our teams manage their stress or feelings of anxiety.
Our brains are “certainty machines”, and they are constantly looking for familiarity and security to ensure our survival. Now more than ever, under these unusual conditions - our brain is constantly scanning our environment for signs of potential threats as a means to keep us safe.