"Leaders aren’t therapists and shouldn’t try to be," declares an article in the Harvard Business Review.
"But people are coping with collective grief and trauma on a global scale, which means leaders have to learn and exercise new skills. There are steps you can take to foster healthy coping mechanisms and discourage unhealthy ones; help ward off some of the typical mistakes that people make under pressure; and ensure you don’t cause additional anxiety on top of what people are already dealing with."
Here are a few of the article’s recommendations for leaders:
Be a Role Model
Bring your humanity front and center. Be a role model for managing inevitable human imperfection with mental flexibility, emotional openness, and healthy habits.
As much as possible, minimize stressors in your own and employees' lives. Make a positive goal out of decreasing stress, across the board, for everyone. Think of it as a psychological energy conservation plan: What can be done to conserve people’s valuable cognitive and emotional energy for the most crucial tasks, at work and home? Encourage suggestions — employees may well come up with process improvements, or ideas for low-cost perks or practices that would ease their lives.
Make it Meaningful
Meaning matters more than happiness, especially when it comes to surviving in difficult circumstances…As a leader, encourage team members to engage in meaningful activities inside and outside of work. Foster on-the-job friendships and chances to connect. Draw a clear picture of how specific tasks fit into the organizational mission, and how the organization fits into larger society… At the same time, acknowledge that meaning is not found exclusively, or even primarily, through work...Jobs that take up a person’s entire life and make up their core identity are so 20th century. A job that is a key support of a meaningful life, filled by a well-rounded, well-rested employee: This is the 21st century job.
And in the Exchange Essentials article collection, Caring for Yourself and Your Team, Rachel Robertson and Helen Zarba remind administrators that "while we early childhood professionals are a naturally hardy group of people, we regularly draw on our resilience and strength. If we don't replenish these, we'll burn out. To do this, we must continually nurture our resilience...Research on resilience points to the following categories as key: positive relationships, achievement, control, meaning and engagement."
In our large collection of Exchange Essentials article collections, find resources on subjects such as administration, child development, curriculum, environments, family, and leadership.
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