How To Stay Strong When Everyone Is Panicking
Updated: Mar 21
With COVID-19 news and uncertainty surrounding us, my goal is to help you feel connected and supported. So, let’s talk about how you can maintain a healthy leadership mindset and come out of this crisis even stronger.
*Regularly schedule video calls with your team and key stakeholders, your professional network, and loved ones. (And if you haven’t been holding regular 1:1’s with your direct reports, now is a good time to start. I use Zoom and it’s *almost* like being face-to-face.)
*Host and attend virtual social gatherings for work and family. I’ve got a virtual dinner party and coffee catch-ups on my calendar already, and I plan to host a few myself. Be creative!
*Send a care package to your team members. When you’re cooped up at home, there’s nothing nicer than receiving a surprise in the mail. Think of something they’d appreciate (it doesn’t have to be expensive, just thoughtful – a great book, cookies, restaurant gift card for takeout, a company logo item). Let them know you care.
2. Your attention is priceless – spend it wisely. Be conscious of where you choose to place your focus. Notice when you are distracted and anxious, and actively redirect your mind back towards your goals and priorities. Your attention impacts everything you do — your emotional mood, your productivity -- and as a leader, you have an exponential impact on others. It’s easy to sink hours online, watching the latest news reports, worrying about the stock market or your retirement account, and hearing personal stories of those most affected by this crisis. It’s not helpful to exist in a heightened state of anxiety – we literally can’t think clearly in that mode. Don’t be the mental version of people who bought up every roll of toilet paper at your local Target. Stay focused on what you need to accomplish. Regarding the media, I recommend a Goldilocks approach. Not too much, not too little, but just right. For me, this is about 30 minutes every day. After I’ve completed my major goals for the day, I pick a time where I’m going to choose to be informed and I go to verifiable, newsworthy sources that I know will not fan the flames of any budding anxiety. 3. Stay disciplined. The best way to stay focused is to stay disciplined. I’ll bet you have documented professional and personal goals for 2020. (If not, now is a good time to start!) Take those out and see if any require adjusting or revising in light of changed travel and business conditions. What shifts might you need to make to still meet those goals? Identify any obstacles to achieving your goals. With most business travel canceled, you still need to be in touch with your key clients, stakeholders and team members. Are you working from home now (maybe alongside your kids)? What home infrastructure improvements might you need – such as an upgrade in home technology to enable teleworking and teleschooling (we arranged for our Internet provider to come and install an upgraded modem this past week)? What work can be done virtually, and what might need to be postponed or reconfigured? My executive coaching is unaffected as I coach mostly on Zoom, and that's also true of my leadership webinars. However, my conference speaking engagements and team leadership workshops have all been postponed, freeing up time for me to do more webinars, podcasting and writing for publications. So, this past weekend, I shifted my 2Q goals to focus on those opportunities. Think about how you can use this time to adapt your goals, revisiting a bucket list career item that perhaps you’ve been putting off. Write that article for your professional journal, reach out to that thought leader you admire. Now is a great time to fill potential gaps with meaningful actions that will serve your career in the future. Just last week, I held a fantastic webinar for my fellow Georgetown Alumni on the 5 key elements that get you promoted and the actions you can take to get you there. Would you like for me to do a Promotability Index™ webinar for subscribers? Please let me know. If you’ve not done so already, taking my free Promotability Index™ is another thing you can do to focus on your leadership skills. One easy thing to do for your career There’s never been a more important time for you to stay on top of your career and step up and be a leader – in your workplace, home, and community. We all need this mindset in a time of crisis. The full business impact of this pandemic is unknown, but one thing is sure – every business will be impacted. Business always needs to innovate and transform; Skilled leaders understand the importance of shifting with changes. The stronger leader you are, the better able you are to adapt. Make the most of this situation by helping others and your business tackle what has been thrown your way. If you’ve not done so already, I encourage you to take my free Promotability Index™ to see how you stack up against the five key elements of leadership to get you promoted. Ways we can stay connected Let’s stay in touch in all the places, where I share all kinds of different and fun content! LinkedIn YouTube Instagram Twitter Facebook Updated Speaking Schedule Sending strength to you across the miles. Take care and stay well.