The Longest Race
Are you ready to turn the page on 2020? I am. This year has tested and re-tested our stamina, resilience, and capacity and capability for change. What started as a sprint in the early spring, had by summer turned into a marathon. Although the race had changed, the pace didn’t.
Many people have found themselves running a marathon at a sprint pace. But as we look toward 2021 and during this holiday period, my wish for you is that you are able to take some time to pause, reset, refresh, and refocus.
It’s tempting as a leader with so much going on, to think we don’t have time to slow down or pause an organizational change effort.
Role of Leadership During Change
Leadership has two primary roles during change. These roles are the same whether a change is planned or unplanned:
- To increase your organization’s and people’s capacity and capability to respond to the change event
- To support an environment where you and the people affected are receptive, capable, and willing to take the actions needed to navigate through the transition.
These are not easy roles because as a leader you must live with the event while leading you and your team through the transition. In this time of unprecedented change, it can feel overwhelming. That’s completely normal. You have a lot on your shoulders.
I have noticed three actions that often get overlooked but make a big difference. They will help you and your employees navigate and even thrive during any change. I invite you to try them and let me know how they work for you.
Three Easy Actions You Can Take
Action 1: Reflection Brings our Experience into Perspective
Reflection is often seen as a luxury. One many leaders believe they can’t afford when time is of the essence. It’s just the opposite. Taking even just a few minutes a day to sit quietly with no disruptions or distractions and free of judgment gives our brain and body the space to re-energize. Reflection helps us examine our experience as an objective observer. We can use this time to question or challenge how are our assumptions or beliefs are influencing our leadership. And explore what is preventing us or others from moving forward. Finally, active reflection enables us to tap into our executive functioning centre of the brain and make better decisions.
Action 2: Self-awareness Unlocks the Potential for Change
The current pandemic and even planned change will affect all of us at multiple levels and in many different ways. The first step to leading and helping others navigate change is to understand your own response to change. Make time to honestly assess and acknowledge the way you respond to both planned and unplanned change.
Examine and explore, without judgment, how your emotions, workload, and circumstances are influencing the response and reactions you are seeing in the people around you. Leaders who are self-aware – who consider the impact of their actions, communication and practices when evaluating the response of the employees are more successful in enabling change.
Action 3: Empathy Allows You To See The World Through Different Eyes
Everyone’s experience and interaction with any change, especially unplanned change, is unique. It is based on our lived experience and the unconscious beliefs we have created through those experiences. For some people, the current crisis and the myriad of changes throughout 2020 have been a minor blip and a challenge. While for others the changes have been anxiety-inducing catastrophes. And for others, their response lies somewhere in-between.
Empathy is the act of putting yourself in another person’s shoes. Although none of us can know exactly what it’s like from another person’s perspective practicing empathy helps.
The practice of empathy also extends to yourself. This means viewing your experiences within the context of what’s happening. And extending to yourself the same kindness and respect you would others you care about.
These three actions may seem small, but they make a powerful difference. What can you do today to begin to make these actions a daily part of your change leadership practice?
If you would like to learn more about how these actions can enable healthy organizational change fill out the contact form below and a member of our team will reach out.