02 Apr Be Caring
In these challenging times we are all adjusting to the new, the different, the turbulent and the opportunity.
Yes I did say opportunity. Like never before this is the time for leaders to show their care for their colleagues and teams. A lot of people are working at home right now, and many of those people have family members, children or partners at home, all of which can cause distractions, interruptions and pleasant time away from the table and laptop. We are learning to create our own structures and habits, learning to manage our own energy levels and well-being.
What can leaders do to help people? The headline is be caring.
Regularly check in – avoid relying on email for this check in. Thankfully we have access to great video conferencing (and it’s OK to be casual, and great to show your ‘home office’ too). When I say check in I meant really enquiring and then listening when you ask the usual ‘how are you’ question. More than ever before we are valuing own our physical, mental and emotional health, so really listen and be caring.
Share your own struggles – being a human and authentic leader makes you more approachable, and makes it OK for other people to share their own challenges. Saying you find it hard to find quiet time to think when your kids are exercising with Joe Wicks can start a great conversation about time shifting work, making sure you have family time and helping colleagues to adjust.
Ask ‘how can I support you right now?’ and listen to the answer – no prejudging and be open to the answer. I was coaching one leader and when they asked that question to all their team they were surprised with the range of answers – from a longer cable for my lap top, to moving the daily check in call to a conversation about their personal development plan. Taking action on these requests helps people to know you are there, wanting to help them and gives reassurance.
Robert Greenleaf is the go to for servant leadership, and here are some of his quotes that inspire me.
‘Good leaders must first become good servants.’
‘The servant-leader is servant first, it begins with a natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first, as opposed to, wanting power, influence, fame, or wealth.’
‘One must not be afraid of a little silence. Some find silence awkward or oppressive. But a relaxed approach to dialogue will include the welcoming of some silence. It is often a devastating question to ask oneself, but it is sometimes important to ask it – ‘In saying what I have in mind will I really improve on the silence?’
The Power of Servant Leadership
Servant Leadership: A Journey into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness.
In serving others we are caring, we support and we deepen our relationships.
Over the next few weeks I will write about my reflections on self-care, team care and customer care. I hope you find them useful.
And finally a massive thank you to everyone in the NHS, and all those other heroes keeping us safe and fed.