As I talk to my clients about how they’re doing at the moment, they keep saying “Of course, it’s early days yet….”
This is after they tell me that they’re enjoying the current situation. People catch themselves saying this as a disclaimer, because they can’t help ‘confessing’ that they are surprised by how much they’re valuing this different way of living and working.
What’s really happening here?
It is unusual for us to be able to largely choose how we run our day.
It is amazing to see how much time gets created if you take travel out of the picture.
It is helpful to understand the real power of the technology available to us.
It is rare for us to get to be with our families as much as we are right now.
As spring begins to take hold, I notice a sense of optimism, of gratitude, of trusting ourselves even though we don’t know how long or what the outcomes are going to be, and leaders could celebrate the spirit, pragmatism and resilience in people.
The truth is though that this enthusiasm is easier to feel when we have choices. Whether it be choice about the room at home from which we choose to work, or the choice to spend part of the day in our outside space.
But choice isn’t the same for everyone, and leaders can show real compassion and care by genuinely trying to imagine and checking in how this new world looks for all of their people, not just those at the top, with whom they spend most of their time.
I am reminded of the wisdom in Edgar Schein’s brilliant book, ‘Humble Inquiry’ – of course, the clue is in the title!
“Humble Inquiry is the fine art of drawing someone out, of asking questions to which you do not already know the answer, of building a relationship based on curiosity and interest in the other person.”
As with many things in this crisis, let’s not miss the opportunity – use these unusual times to get closer to our people by showing genuine interest and care in their specific situation, what that means for them and what help and support they may need.
Look after yourselves,