Finding Peace Among the Pandemic: How Leaders Show Up Now Matters

Susan S Freeman Blog

As with every one of us, my life radically changed a week or so ago. We had just returned from a short vacation away—which was the last one for a very long time. My life before that trip and now after bear no resemblance to one another.

Today is Day 5 of self-isolation. All social, community and travel has been cancelled. Here are my thoughts on how to effectively lead yourself and your organization through the challenges we are facing now—and for the foreseeable future.

  1. Get a once daily update on the facts based on the science.  Look at the data and make decisions that safeguard human well-being and safety above all else.
  2. Make business decisions about employees and customers that reflect taking responsibility for slowing the spread in your area.  We are all in this together. When we make it about the “we,” there is shared responsibility for the decisions. It is painful, yet when we orient around the “we”, people can accept the dis-comfort and sacrifice more easily.  
  3. Have daily team meetings that begin with Centering, allowing all your employees and colleagues to feel the sense of calm and peace that a few minutes of this will offer. Then check-in with one-word to take the temperature of where people are in real time. This situation is a marathon—not a sprint. We all need to calibrate and acknowledge the fear, frustration, and feelings of isolation that are likely to set in. Speaking with colleagues helps everyone feel heard. We are all truly in this together.
  4. Lean into your self-care routines even more than ever before. I know it’s hard amongst the extra responsibilities we are all taking on now to find time and space for self-care. Yet it’s imperative. Fresh air is still available, as is exercise at home or in the neighborhood, trail walks in parks, a few quiet minutes at home or on your porch to close your eyes, breathe deeply, and feel your feelings. They will pass if you allow them to.
  5. Keep gratitude at the forefront and focus on others.  Every day I am focused on what I am grateful for. I am well. I am healthy. I am strong. I can work and offer my services to others virtually. My family and friends are well, healthy and strong. Ask “what can I do to be helpful to someone today, even as I may not be in close physical proximity?”

This is a once in a hundred-year situation that is causing us to demonstrate leadership like never before. We all need to Step Up Now in ways both big and small. For other practical tips and tools, I invite you to check out my book, Step Up Now: 21 Powerful Principles for People Who Influence Others.

In the meantime, be safe and be smart.

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