Covid And The Next Phase: managing emotions into the new norm
Just as there are phases of grief there are phases to change. This is especially evident as we grapple with the global changes thrust on us through the Covid-19 pandemic. Handling our emotions effectively underpins all of our reactions, activities and decisions.
PHASE 1 ROUTINE
The first 3 weeks of lockdown, saw us sorting out the demands of our new routines and ensuring we could connect not only for work but for our mental health. (Emotionally, we were creating greater certainty and connection.)
Most leadership conversations were about externally managing the home front - not many were about managing emotions. Yet leaders shared how people were in tears about the disconnect from the familiar working environment and the tech-fatigue created by being glued to a screen or phone for the majority of the day.
PHASE 2 EMOTIONS
Mostly we are pretty sorted with the routine. Now we are being challenged by how to avoid boredom and how to know we still matter - many are furloughed or have reduced hours. And will have for quite some time to come.
What is it that makes us so uncomfortable with emotion and verbalising feelings?
As a child I wasn't exactly encouraged to say what I was feeling. And sometimes it was risky - I might be admonished for being 'cheeky'. It seems the same threats exist as adults in the workplace - does our leader want to know or care about how we are feeling and what will the consequences be if we speak our truth?
Fortunately, with studies in psychology and a love of the beauty of words (think poetry), I learned to respect and welcome expressing feelings. But most of the trust in how it would be treated had to come from my interaction with others and learning to be brave.
Just off a webinar on leadership in challenging times with Voice At The Table, it occurred to me again that how we handle remote teams and our wellbeing right now has to make expressing feelings safe and respected. No more stiff upper lip.
1. Spend time in mindful inquiry about how you are feeling and how you would describe it in words. Who do you feel safe to express it with and why? Can you show 'vulnerability'?
2. How can you ensure your own team feels safe to share their feelings with you? Show them empathy.
3. Make emotional intelligence a priority. It builds trust.
Keep your coaching hats on. What can you be asking to check in on these with your team? And remember to guide your teams into moments of luxury - simple pamperings and time out just to enjoy. For your self too....