Supporting resilience in your leaders and employees in times of crisis

Since the onset of the Corona virus, we have all experienced a rapid change in our daily lives and work. Both our sensibilities and priorities have shifted during our own current personal journeys. At the same time, we are all coping with the impact of the crisis in every aspect of our lives.

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The emotional nature of current blog postings, chats during webinars and zoom calls with friends and colleagues – just to name a few examples - reveal a deep need to collectively reflect upon how we are feeling in this moment and to identify ways to grapple with the myriad of challenges which all of us are facing right now.

If we show up whole, we end up more productive.
Frédéric Laloux
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Making space for meaningful conversations in both our personal and professional lives will strengthen our ability to cope with the current state of anxiety and an unknown future. Frederic Laloux, author of the book “Reinventing Organizations” addresses the importance of bringing our “wholeness” to our conversations. But what does “wholeness” really mean? Simply put, it means initially putting the cognitive Let’s get to business mindset aside. He advocates that we start our interactions with others by opening our hearts and invite our emotions to be an authentic part of our conversations with them. (For a thoughtful reflection about “wholeness” enjoy Laloux’s video conversation on the topic ) 

Reflecting on the importance of ‘showing up whole’ to unleash individual and collective energy, creativity and passion in these challenging times, we asked ourselves the following question:

How could an organization provide crucial moral support to employees at all levels of the organization by encouraging conversations that matter right now?

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Sensing a collective need to bring wholeness to our conversations about the continuing uncertainty in both our personal spheres and business lives, we took another look at the content in the library of more than 100 CoachingOurselves© modules which have been written by worldwide experts in their fields. The focus of our review process was to reflect upon specific topics which are deeply relevant for our current collective challenge. Through this lens, a spectrum of relevant Peer-to-Peer Networking modules were identified. We feel that these modules will support individuals to have important conversations about what they are feeling and thinking about during these turbulent times with their colleagues and friends.

Our experience has shown that all of the CoachingOurselves© modules which we have singled out, can be helpful for anyone during this crisis. Nonetheless, we chose to suggest two collections of Peer-to-Peer Networking modules - one for managers and another for employees – in order to address specific needs from varying perspectives.

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During this moment and more than ever, leaders need to speak and act from the heart while at the same time tapping into their business acumen. Building the resilience of an organization’s leaders will enable them to deal with the current crisis by showing more compassion and business élan while, at the same time, strengthen themselves and their colleagues.

The following modules can lay the groundwork for leaders to deal with the current unpredictable and emerging future.

A leader’s health action plan: Incorporate simple tools to incorporate into a leader’s workday to promote both emotional and physical health.

Emotional intelligence: Your Inner and Outer Self: Examine a leader’s critical role to managing their emotions as well as those of others in the workplace.

Leading change in difficult times: Explore powerful methods to motivate employees to maintain productivity and performance which guide organizations through the most challenging of times.

Dealing with the pressures of managing: Reflect upon how the pressures of managing are constant, not temporary – and even more intense during a crisis.

Managing on the edges: Delve into how managers need to manage inside their area of responsibility as well as manage outside of their unit by relating to other components of the organization. Managing on the edge to the outside world is especially important in times of crisis.

Foresight: Cultivate an awareness of the unseen, the obscure, and the overlooked by focusing on the importance of foresight and the development of attentional strategies in daily management.

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The demands of the crisis to assure health and well-being of employees resulted in a high-speed shift from the everyday routine of working in an office to solo working in a home office. Virtual work and online team meetings have become the norm. Not unexpectedly, stress levels have risen throughout the workforce. Grappling with an unexpected change in one’s daily working routine combined with the worries of a health crisis has taken a toll on employees’ ability to cope.

The following modules have been chosen to allow employees to listen to the perspectives of others who are also dealing with the crisis and offer an opportunity for them to engage in conversation about it with others. By fostering this kind of empathetic listening, employees will see crisis from the eyes of fellow colleagues. The result of these conversations will the strengthening of a collective feeling of resilience.

The art of helping: Explore the dynamics of helping in order to contribute to a climate of mutual help so an organization can flourish.

Reflection: Appreciate the importance of collective and individual reflection in managerial work and identify ways to combine this kind of managerial reflection with action.

Time to dialogue: Recognize dialogue as a more creative and collaborative mode of communication which increases one’s capacity to address complex organizational issues.

Candid conversation: Look at how candid conversations can fostered in the workplace and ways to enable these conversations throughout an organization.

Building purpose in life and work: Delve into how leaders collaborate with employees towards creating a purpose-driven organization.

Ordinary people – extraordinary leadership: Embrace 21st century leadership by enabling leaders to return to their most profound personal perspective, imagination and wisdom.

Every good conversation starts with good listening.

Conversations also have the power to foster a deeper level of listening – generative listening. According to Otto Scharmer of the Presencing Institute, this kind of listening not only strengthens one’s personal sense of identity but also enables individuals to collectively connect to an emerging future. (Watch this video and hear Otto Scharmer reflect upon the different levels of listening. )

Powerful conversations provide the framework to foster deeper listening. Generative listening to one another opens the possibility of emergent creativity and co-creation. Both these capabilities are essential for all organizations to cultivate as our shared future unfolds.

Employees at any level of an organization will develop his/her personal listening skills, connect more deeply with others and create meaning about how to cope with the current challenge (and future crises) through the Peer-to-Peer Networking experience. Developing this ability to sense and express compassion is key to both personal and organizational thriving in a time of rapid change and uncertainty. 

Enable your organization to use the power of networks to identify sustainable business solutions with speed and effectiveness: Network Leadership - Intentional Collaboration - Network Mindset

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