‘Pandemic’ is the collective new for us all. Many of us don’t know how to deal with this crisis and we are trying to be normal. Yet nothing is normal. We don’t know how to do this social distancing thing (I prefer to call it physical distancing) while also staying sane and staying socially connected while far apart.
When it comes to our teams, we don’t know what to tell our employees. We are anxious, uncertain and afraid. And it’s okay to feel all these emotions. If you do not name what you are feeling – your own feelings – they will eat you alive.
As a Compassionate Leader, in owning your emotions you can give your team a deep sense of safety while also teaching them what ‘not knowing’ and ‘being OK with uncertainty’ look like and feel like. These opposing ideas are not mutually exclusive. This is the advanced dual mind that can hold two different ideas in high tension at the same time where persistent strength is required. This is one of the ways we measure human intelligence or social intelligence. Can we live in that space between certainty and uncertainty?
It’s OK to be overwhelmed with emotion right now. Have an online check-in with your team – connect and listen deeply. We are a meaning-making species and we need language as a handle to shape a story of our feelings by wrapping words around those feeling and making sense of the story we then discover. This is how we normalise what we experience.
We also need to place this pandemic is perspective. We don’t know when it’s going to end, we just know it will. Perspective is a function of experience. The less experience we have, the less perspective we have. Disappointment is what a lot of people will experience when the perspective changes, and this is okay. Denying disappointment doesn’t show more compassion or empathy.
Let’s rather ask for what we need and ensure we are all on the same page, authentically, so we can get through this together. We are learning and getting better, so let’s keep moving forward as we learn new things while we grow, truly live and become braver every day.