Enjoy this video transcript of this week’s Monday Moment episode.
Good morning and happy Monday! I’m Monica Wofford and this is your Monday Moment.
We’re still in that learning mode, hence the venue, but today our discussion is about how exactly do you lead in a new normal. By now, chances are you’ve gone through either an incredibly disruptive world event or an additional transaction that’s caused you to have to adapt rather quickly to what we might call a “new normal”. If you’ve been through the recent pandemic and it has negatively impacted your office, which most cannot say they’ve been unscathed, your new normal may yet to be clear or even close to being formulated. But as we talk through how everything is changing, how do you now start doing things like planning, when there’s not much of which we can be certain? There’s a lot to be said for being the leader charging ahead looking to create, develop, and maybe settle in on something called your new normal, but how exactly do you do that? Well, as they’re often is, there are a couple of steps and in this case and there are four that will be most helpful. Let’s take a look.
Assess What Remains
The very first step, when you’re looking to lead in a newly normal environment, is to assess what exactly has stayed the same. What has remained? What people are still there? What projects are still in the pipeline? What successes can you still say exist and that need celebrating? When you have a new normal there are always new opportunities and yet, always also elements that didn’t arrive with you into this new territory. Take a close inventory of people, processes, and projects and include customer relationships, connections, possibilities, and opportunities and look at what’s remained the same. Maybe the next question is given what is still standing, what have you yet to consider as a new option or combination of resources?
Find the Gaps
Secondly when you’re leading through this new normal, or trying to develop it, find those gaps or the opportunities that need nurturing and fulfillment. Find the gaps that need filling. Maybe now in your market or your profession or industry, there is a bright shining newly uncovered opportunity. Never before have we been through such an upheaval and perhaps never before would this opportunity have been uncovered or even have been able to be seen visually. Survey your landscape. Take a look at what your customers are now telling you is more important. Take a look at what employees are now asking for. It may not be what caused them to line up at the HR door before. As the leader, take a close and fervent look at what the gaps are that now exist and that need filling. Because, to use an analogy, if you or your organization were a sidewalk and you were trying now to walk down the sidewalk normally, large gaping holes aren’t going to let that happen. Ignoring the gaps means you’re not doing the leader’s job of looking ahead to make sure they’re filled or at a minimum avoided. Instead you’ll have people fall in them. You’ll have more drama to deal with and more on your plate than you currently likely have the bandwidth for managing.
Stay Aware of the Stages
The third step when you are looking to lead through and develop this “New Normal” is to stay aware of the stages. I started to say stay away from them, but they are pretty inescapable. When you’re staying aware of the stages, meaning mainly Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s five stages of death and dying (acceptance, denial, bargaining, anger, and I never remember the last one…ah yes, depression) keep in mind those stages are going to be something those you lead face, if something in your organization is permanently changed. Look up Elizabeth Kubler-Ross “On Death and Dying” and the five stages of grieving. Be aware that in the event of any significant loss, not just of people, but of processes, of positions, of colleagues at work, or even workspace location, five stages will be present. We don’t go through them in order. In fact, we may go through them in the same way one plays Hopscotch. Back and forth, one box there, one box there, but we do all go through them. And the faster you and those you lead get to acceptance, the better but be aware of those stages, as well as be aware of the stages of team formation: forming, storming, norming and adjourning. When you’re formulating a new team, or when you’re bringing new team members together whether you hired them or brought people back from furlough or had to keep the team small and nimble for now until revenue increases, they’re going to go through those same stages of team development that the team went through, perhaps years ago, to get to where they were before everything was no longer normal. So, give them an opportunity to form together. Set up exercises where they can get to learn more about each other. Don’t panic or freak out when they start storming and having conflicts and a difference of opinion. Do take a lot of pride when you watch them begin to norm and gel and work in sync and be able to bounce ideas off of each other. And then at some point, as is true for almost all teams on the planet, they will also go through a journey where there’s no longer a need for that team to be as close knit or for all members of that team to even be present.
When you start looking at your ability to lead nimbly, effectively, rapidly, and with agility, I have no question whatsoever that you have all those abilities, and yet one thing to keep in mind that we all struggle with, is whether or not you believe it. When we look at how to lead in a new normal, one of the most important steps for you to take is to keep going. Things are different, yes. Some industries may have seen skyrocketing results in this time period. Some industries have changed and will never again look as they did in the earlier months of 2020, but your goal and your role as a leader of people looking to you for leadership and that you have the privilege and responsibility of leading, is to keep going. Even on the days you don’t feel like leading. Even on the days when you think your super leader cape fell off somewhere miles back or you don’t know what all the answers are or what the new normal even looks like. Keep going. It’ll become evident and you’ll have followers helping you. The goal is for you to be prepared to have that vision and to be prepared to lead them when the time to implement it arrives.
I’m Monica Wofford and that’s your Monday Moment. Have a great week, an even better Monday and yes, of course, keep in mind your leadership is still contagious.
Monica Wofford, CSP is a celebrated leader who develops future leaders. CEO of Contagious Companies, her firm delivers and designs leadership training for managers who’ve been promoted, but not prepared, and the leaders who promoted them. Author of Contagious Leadership and Make Difficult People Disappear, Monica and members of the Contagious team may be reached at www.ContagiousCompanies.com, www.MonicaWofford.com or by calling 1-866-382-0121.