Good morning and happy Monday! I’m Monica Wofford and this is your Monday Moment.
…but it may not be all butterflies and unicorns, as I tend to be more optimistic even when we’re in times of some turmoil. And… just when we thought we were reopening the world and starting to see splinters of optimism and rays of hope and sunshine, we have a tragedy that has put a pale on what might otherwise be an enthusiastic march back to something that feels like normal. So, the question for today’s Monday Moment focuses on insulating your team from turmoil. In fact, how do you as a leader, insulate the team you have the privilege of leading from turmoil, turbulence, tough times and delicate issues? The reality is you can’t always insulate them from everything. And the second reality is while these events in our current time are tragic and difficult and sensitive and delicate, the nature of life is comprised of these elements with tumultuous times and tragedies and events that deserve for our attention to pivot. These times will happen again and are far more regular than perhaps we’re willing to admit. So, when those times are turbulent, such as now, or last week, or two months ago, when the lockdown and the pandemic was still new news or a new issue, what do you do as a leader to insulate those you have the privilege of leading through the difficulty? Well, there are three options, or three good guidelines or what I would call best practices and you’ll find those three in today’s Monday Moment.
Bring Them Together
Guideline number one is to bring them together. Maybe this is a team meeting or a huddle. Maybe this is a group zoom call, though I know everyone is rather over zooming at the moment of this recording. Bring the team together in a way that you can socialize, break bread, discuss a little more casually, with a little more vulnerability, perhaps the issues of the day. Bring them together in a way that is creating comradery and creating collaboration and isn’t so focused on just the business. Bring the team together, face to face if possible. If that’s not an option, bring them together in a way that leads them to feel bonded and unified and together. This does not mean that there is going to be one-hundred percent agreement on any issue or topic. There’s also may be topics and issues that you avoid discussion of all together but bringing them together truly embodies the definition of team. This act also allows them to cling to at least one area in their world in which they are part of something bigger, perhaps part of a tribe, even if it’s just the tribe focused on complaining about the dinner shift at the restaurant, or maybe your tribe talks about investors and portfolios, or maybe your tribe talks about insurance, or patients, or maybe your tribe talks about the real issues of burnout and fear and stress induced fatigue of our health care workers. In some cases, simply bringing the team together so that you can create a sense of confidence about handling whatever turmoil comes your way, together, makes all the difference.
Be the Beacon
The second guideline is to be the beacon. If you have children and you are the a parent who has ever cussed in the car at oncoming traffic, isn’t it amazing that your children have learned at a fairly young age, a selection of creative words and expressions that they will then say in public? And you are fascinated and gasp, wondering where they learned such words? Well, we don’t typically compare employees to children with a direct comparison because there aren’t always the same elements. In this case, being the beacon is about you, as the leader, raising your awareness to a much higher level about they will do, watch, and consider emulating and duplicating from all those actions you’re taking. Be the beacon also has a lighthouse analogy. And much like with a lighthouse, they may see the light, but they’re not always going to follow the, or your, direction. They may see the light off in the distance and decide they feel like taking the boat this way and that’s okay. But you, as the leader, the who ensures, especially in times of turmoil, that one of the areas or ways in which you try to insulate the team from external real or perceived difficulty is by serving as a beacon that they can see and follow. Be the example for how to handle this situation. Be the example for how to manage your stress level. Be the example for what you value as an organization. If you value customers, they come first, and your actions need to demonstrate such. If you value patrons or clients or donors or colleagues, your actions need to demonstrate that you are the beacon, whether it be of hope, of action, or of guidance. Be that leader in times of turmoil and you might be surprised how many become very loyal and quickly follow.
The third guideline and perhaps one of the most important, is to practice tolerance. Now I hesitate in saying practice tolerance because I’m not speaking of tolerance of a value or action that certainly doesn’t align with yours or mine. I’m speaking about practicing tolerance among the team of people you have the privilege of leading. Some will agree with your way of thinking. Great. Some won’t. So, what. It’s about looking at the true value of opinions from all directions, concerns over different issues, and importance placed on things that perhaps don’t cross your radar on a daily basis. (and that’s okay.) In this case, it’s the tolerance of those who need to deal with something. Call it a tumultuous public event, a tragedy, or a personal issue in their own way. Give them that bandwidth. Practice tolerance in having team members who perhaps will have a volatile reaction to the news or events or elections or campaign ads or Facebook ads or commercials. Give them that tolerance and set boundaries for what’s appropriate to be shared in the office. What’s appropriate to be vented and when, where, and in whose office (might I suggest the boss’s), but also while you’re setting some healthy guidelines for venting expression, discussion, and conversation, practice tolerance. You being the leader in no way implies that you must agree with the opinions of all those you have the privilege of leading, much as they will not all agree with each other. It does mean, as many of the protests are suggesting and standing up for, much of this aspect of humanity that you may now need to tolerate is rooted in the multitude of differences.
The times we are living in seem every day to have an event that’s newsworthy or gut wrenching or heartbreaking in nature. It’s hard to stay focused. We thought we were just coming out of the pandemic focus and then something else occurs and grabs our attention. We are still all in this together though now that phrase carries more and more connotations. Void of politics, divisive conversations, and other assumptions, you and your department and your organization, and those in your association are all in this together among the team you have the privilege of leading. Now, more than ever your leadership skills make a difference in how you, we, and all of us come through these events. You have the ability to protect, insulate, and perhaps even bond even more than we ever may have thought possible.
I’m Monica Wofford. And that’s your Monday moment. Stay tuned for more relevant, time-sensitive leadership, guidance, tips, and guidelines. In fact, I hope you’ll join us regularly. Sign up for your Monday Moment at MondayMoment.com or go to ContagiousCompanies.com. You’ll see the popup show up in the middle of the screen and also a plethora of valuable training resources. Although the connotation is different these days, there’s great deal of value for you to be involved in the Contagious Community. We’ll talk soon. And in the meantime, have an amazing week!
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.