It has been just more than a year since the pandemic changed our lives. Many people are exhausted – including, of course, leaders.
So, what do we do about it?
First, just like the oxygen mask on the airplane – make sure you are taking care of yourself.
You have probably been working too many hours. You need to start cutting back now. It is bad for you and terrible role modeling for your team.
Next, do all of the things that you know you should do to take better care of yourself: sleep, nutrition, exercise. Again – you are doing this for yourself, so you can lead more effectively – and to be a role model for your team. Check out this blog for more specific suggestions.
Here are some tips from an HBR article with a subtitle “How to Lead When the Whole World is Tired”:
*Understand Urgency vs Importance. This is a great distinction that Dr. Steven Covey makes in his book, First Things First. It is so easy to jump at the most urgent matter that shows up each day. But it is not very effective. Our performance is much better if we can carefully assess which seemingly “urgent” matters can actually go on the back burner and spend more of our time on the really important issues facing the organization.
*Balance Passion & Containment. We absolutely need to be compassionate with people, especially during these very challenging times. But don’t go overboard. Take a “We have challenges, but we can do this” attitude. Show that you can “contain” the challenge.
*Energize the Team! Regularly remind the team of the vision you are building for the future and about the purpose of your work. Start with yourself. Make sure you have your “self talk pep rally” at the beginning of the day then spread it with the team. There really are brighter days ahead and you have an exciting vision for the future.
You can do this! Take care of yourself and encourage your team to take care of themselves as you focus on the future.
*Ideas for this blog taken from: Wedell-Wedellsborg, M. “How to Lead When Your Team is Exhausted – And You Are, Too,” Harvard Business Review online, December 15, 2020.