Discover more from How to Lead Everybody (with their permission)
On the road again...
I have a rule as a leader: I’d never ask one of my people to take a risk that I wouldn’t take myself.
Which is why I’m loading up my travel Purell® bottles and hitting the road this week. I’m fully vaxxed, and so is my immediate family, so it’s surprising to me how I’m still getting twinges of anxiety about my upcoming in-person meetings and the potential for Covid contacts during travel. However, I can deal, so I use this sense of anxiety as a touchstone for empathy for my people, knowing that they might have significantly more anxiety, given their family issues (medically compromised elderly relatives and/or children too young to be vaccinated).
Just because my anxiety twinges are at a “dealable” level doesn’t mean that all of my people’s anxiety levels will be. As leaders, we need to communicate with our staff members and let them know it’s okay to tell us when they are uncomfortable with the perceived risk in a situation. We need to remember that their feelings are real and valid from their perspective, so we should not dismiss them. If we have mutual trust and mutual respect, we can use honest communication to find ways to build our people’s confidence and their comfort with a situation—we can “be the safety nets for our tightrope walkers.”
But on a personal note, I’m still weirdly fixated on “Are we going to shake hands? Is that bumping elbows still a thing? Do I even remember how to shake hands?”