Personal growth is a hot topic. But rather than being a token item, it’s essential for executives during a crisis. In these times, we are all called upon to lead when our feelings may be more negative than positive.
We don’t get a lot of simple answers when disease hits. There are so many unknowns that people stop listing them. What’s an executive to do?
We should choose growth. We need to choose growth for ourselves and growth for the people we lead.
What Comes After COVID?
COVID has changed business drastically. It may never return to exactly the same as it was. People will feel the effects for many years of this disease.
People are losing their sense of normal. What they need are additional sets of skills. They need to deal with changes that cannot be stopped without losing sight of progress.
Developing a Growth Mindset
There are two kinds of mindsets when it comes to change. There is the static (aka fixed) mindset, which holds that people don’t improve. They don’t develop the abilities they need to overcome challenges.
The other mindset is a growth mindset. The growth mindset holds that people develop. They can learn to be more intelligent, better at relationships, and successful in overcoming difficulty.
The Static Mindset
People with the static mindset learn to run away from their problems. They just walk away from them. They don’t believe that they can overcome the issues they face.
The static mindset keeps people from developing. They might peak early in life. They might have difficult relationships. Or they might become defined by a certain set of troubles, never to move past them.
The Growth Mindset
The growth mindset is all about self-improvement. People with this mindset know they can learn. They take a different approach to failure and success.
They know that failure is just a stop on the road to success, and they know that effort is rewarded.
How We Get These Mindsets
Partially, we are taught these mindsets. Some researchers who coach growth teach parents and teachers to be mindful of the way they give praise and address failure.
But people ultimately choose their own mindset. They can choose a path of self-improvement or one that takes a static approach to life.
Dealing with Anxiety
Anxiety manifests itself in all kinds of ways. Even achievers can have anxiety. Particularly, anxiety can overtake leaders who are used to things going their way. In the worst of times, our shortcomings and what we really believe come to light.
Anxiety seems unavoidable for many people, especially for those with a lot of responsibility. Here are some coping skills to help your performance.
It seems like nothing’s getting done on the virus front, but that is a lie. This will pass as well.
Take a step back and center yourself. Adjust your posture. Start with your head and your shoulders. Relax every digit down to your toes.
Lead with Emotional Intelligence
Although we don’t coach it in leaders often, emotional intelligence gets a lot done. It improves job satisfaction. It also leads to a healthier workplace. In the long run, this is good for the bottom line. In crises, it can mean the difference between a functioning team and a struggling one.
Start with Mindfulness
Improve yourself by stopping and taking notice of how you and others feel. Empathy takes a little extra time. But it can lead to improved connections and better relationships.
Always start a team meeting with a ‘mindset check’ by asking your colleagues a simple question such as ‘what’s on your mind?’ or ‘how are you doing, really?’
Empathy can change your workplace in powerful ways, just like it changes other situations.
But mindfulness also helps improve our own efficiency. It’s not just good for the group.
Mindfulness is about realizing how you are feeling. Empathy takes it a step further and takes the group’s feelings into consideration.
As we take time to pause and acknowledge our own feelings, we can address things that are holding us back in the workplace.
We all want to perform better. We want to lead with integrity. And we want to be there for our teams. We don’t just want to grow. We want to grow other people. We want to inspire careers.
Mindfulness Makes Better Leaders
When we’ve got a lot of things holding us back emotionally, it’s hard to lead with integrity. Mindfulness helps us address what is going on with ourselves. As we acknowledge and put a name to our feelings, we can address them.
Mindfulness Helps Us Address Anxiety
Leaders can get nervous quickly in a disaster. When we face unprecedented and unexpected catastrophe, it’s natural to question ourselves. We like to think of ourselves as prepared and strong people.
But you can’t plan for everything. And that’s when anxiety can affect our relationships and our leadership.
The first step is to acknowledge our nerves. Then we must take steps to address what is really making us nervous. Is it our inadequacy? Are we forced to question our capabilities at an inconvenient time? Do we need more resources to deal with the disaster?
Honesty is important. It’s important when we’re dealing with other people. But it’s also important in the way we deal with ourselves.
Acting Out of Mindfulness
There is a power in mindfulness. It might require a change in pace. But doing things with care leads to improved quality. Take care of your leadership and subordinates the same way you would with deliverables on a project. People will notice.
Stay in touch with yourself. It’s okay to cry, laugh, and realize that things may not be going your way. Who can have it all, especially in the face of a disaster like COVID?
Let those feelings out in a healthy space. It’s okay to seek the help of a professional. You could talk to Navigate-–your strategic HR partner, a mindfulness coach, practice yoga with Adrienne on YouTube, or even go to therapy. Do not shy away from doing some internal work as you respond and adapt to the new normal. It will take work from everyone.
Leaders must adapt the same way everyone has to.
Growth for Change
There were things that needed fixing before COVID. The pandemic has brought those things into even sharper light. Unfortunately, many of the things on the to-do list for business are now an emergency. They can’t wait much longer.
Having so many emergencies at once is enough to make anyone nervous. When you feel responsible for other people at work, things seem even more urgent.
As you develop a growth mindset, you will need to act out of mindfulness to confront anxiety. It may take some time. But as with all things, it will come more naturally with practice. Develop your growth mindset. As you grow, you can lead your team even better.