The pandemic has placed immense pressure on leaders and businesses across the world. Over the last year, the unpredictability, scale and speed of the pandemic have made numerous facets of business and leadership a challenge.
Leaders have had a tough task on their hands trying to respond and navigate their team through the downturn. There’s been a huge wave of uncertainty sweeping across businesses for some time, and it’s now reaching a critical point.
So how do leaders navigate through the pandemic?
There’s no single answer, but one thing is for certain – leaders should first equip themselves with the right mindset and behaviours to prepare them to face and overcome these challenges.
Let’s take a look at some tools modern business leaders can use.
When leaders reflect on ineffective actions and become more conscious of the effects of their behaviours, they increase their self-awareness and become more aware of others. Leaders can learn how to stop reacting and improve self-management.
As leaders, we lead people, we work with and develop others, making decisions along the way to inspire our teams and push them forward. Effectively maximising the capacity of the human brain to drive productivity and performance is the key here.
This idea comes from a realisation that emotions hold immense value. Navigating through one’s emotions – becoming more self-aware – is of paramount importance before we can navigate through any external challenges.
My good friend Dr Rob Pennington said this: “What I am unaware of controls me, what I become aware of I can change.”
Neuroscience Leads to A Healthy Mindset
We know that neuroscience is fundamentally connected to human behaviour. However, not everyone can become a neuroscientist. What everyone can do, though, is understand how it affects us and what steps we can take to overcome it.
Essentially, we have two systems working in our minds at all times. Our behaviour, thoughts and emotions can either trigger the sympathetic nervous system when we are in a state of emergency or stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. On one hand, the sympathetic nervous system is triggered by cortisol, a chemical that essentially protects us when we feel that we are under threat. It reduces the capacity of the brain to think as we move into our self-preservation mode. The parasympathetic nervous system, on the other hand, can be activated when we adopt certain practices like mindfulness, hope and compassion. It’s the latter we want to enable the most. Through certain practices, we can promote a healthy mindset and increase the capacity of the mind.
Practical Ways to Encourage a Healthy Mind
As leaders, there are many ways in which we can introduce certain practices in our lives and the workplace. Think of the possible ways to practice the following activities, incorporating them into your daily routine, and you will soon see that conflicts are easily handled and challenges are overcome.
Mindfulness: Breathing, meditation, yoga, tai chi, prayer, and physical exercise in moderation.
Hope: Thinking and talking about the future. Visualizing and taking yourself to a positive place.
Compassion: Loving relationships, volunteering and helping those less fortunate, helping family, elderly or disabled.
Playfulness: Laughing with others.
These activities release more serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin, neurotransmitters that promote the effective use of our brains.
To better deal with challenges, the above behaviours and actions, among many others, will help to keep our minds healthy. They can all be built into your working life as a way of life so that when any crisis happens, you are more resilient with a healthy mind.
Navigating Through the Storm
As we move through and out the other side of this difficult time, many people look to their leaders to navigate them safely through the storm, hoping that those leaders will offer them the encouragement, motivation and purpose they need along the way.
This means that leaders have to listen, support, encourage and promote healthy conversations to build loyalty and trust. But to do that, you must incorporate elements of the Human Touch Programme into your leadership style.
I’ll leave you with another quote, this time from Karen Armstrong’s book Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life.
“The Golden Rule requires self-knowledge; it asks that we use our feelings as a guide to our behaviour with others. If we treat ourselves harshly, this is the way we are likely to treat other people. So we need to acquire a healthier and more balanced knowledge of our strengths as well as our weaknesses.”
If you’d like to know more about post-pandemic leadership, schedule a call today. I’m more than happy to talk you through some effective ways to lead with compassion, empathy and impact.