It is interesting to reflect on the leadership conversations I had with clients back in December of 2019 or January of 2020. The year-end goals, professional development focus areas, team building initiatives, and strategies for the future have all shifted. For those who have stayed on track with your original plans are you sure that is still right?
I have very few answers (and be wary of any consultant or coach who says they do), but I believe I have the right question, which is:
“Are we still having the most important conversation?”
The pandemic has surfaced fear, changes in lifestyle, political polarities, and a brand-new work environment. Virtual work can be a dream come true, or another person’s version of hell. Regardless of preferences, everyone is dealing with some type of COVID-responsible harm. For some, that damage means loss that is tragic and devastating; for others, the injury is unsettling, inconvenient, or scary.
Then there is the pandemic of racism that has always caused our society to be sick. However, the loss of George Floyd is highlighting just how disease-stricken we continue to be. We must take steps to name, address, dismantle, change, reconstruct, and heal.
These two pandemics
will not be ignored!
Leaders, please hit the pause button on all the conversations you believe were most important five months ago and reassess what healthy dialogue should look like now. What needs to be named in your organization? What needs to be eradicated from the workforce? What needs to be addressed in your own form of leadership? Ask yourself, are these conversations I’m still having the most important?
These are individual questions, but they also require a collective response. It is everyone’s responsibility to do this work, but it cannot be done alone. The time is now to perceive and receive what must be seen and heard.
Humor can be the best medicine! I have seen the memes that joke about people returning 2020 and getting their money back, or when time travel becomes available, always skip 2020. I am beginning to wonder, though, if we do not start talking about the most important things, the dynamics of 2020 may new leave.
What conversations do you need to be in now?
Photo by Etienne Boulanger on Unsplash
Photo by Josh Hild on Unsplash
The more I work with leaders, the more distinctions I see in how people handle change. Nothing lasts forever and most endings bring an emotional response. Sometimes it is a celebratory reaction or a liberation. We breathe a sigh of relief that a welcomed change has finally arrived. Most often, though, transition brings a sense of loss, and if we are not careful, we can get gripped in multiple ways.
What if we were able to experience an ending with no grip?
What if instead of being startled by emotional endings or bracing ourselves for the end, we let things transition while staying fully aware and present?
What would it take to see the change objectively versus feeling subjected by the ending?
We are always at choice with change. We can choose to hold it, grip it, or let it gently go. Subtle shifts in the mindset can create new reactions, and awareness always brings learning.
What endings are you facing?
Carrie Arnold, PhD, MCC, BCC
In no particular order: Author | Dog mom to Moose | Speaker | Reader Mom to human offspring Wife | Lover of Learning Leadership coach & consultant, The Willow Group | Fellow, Institute for Social Innovation | Program Director for Evidence-Based Coaching at Fielding Graduate University