Learn more about psychology with this collection
How to handle and learn from mistakes
The benefits of psychological safety in a workplace
The importance of empathy and active listening
It means an absence of interpersonal fear. When psychological safety is present, people are able to speak up with work-relevant content.
For many people during the pandemic, the explicitness of the physical lack of safety has been experienced as a shared fear, which has allowed them to be more open and intimate and more able to voice their thoughts and concerns with colleagues.
This collective fear thus becomes a potential driver of collaboration and innovation, further contributing to an open environment for producing and sharing ideas that under normal conditions may have remained unshared.
Even though face-to-face interactions allow for a level of intimacy and understanding that may be lost online, with video formats you can still pick up cues and detect whether someone’s in some period of mild distress.
Leaping into task orientation too quickly may almost feel like a violation to the person on the other end of the call. Taking a pause to acknowledge where the person is and what they need can build trust over time and make the shared interaction emotionally less risky. Yet this might also make the exchanges themselves even more draining as you pause to doubt the interactions.
What makes management by wandering around so successful is the ability to make a genuine link between a task or job and a larger overarching purpose.
Although not as spontaneous as walking around, video calls and chats, when kept to relatively small sizes, can still develop the connective tissue linking actions to a shared vision for the future.
With tools like Zoom, communications have become more explicit and structured; leaders must ask direct questions about what’s working and what isn’t.
The degree to which leaders can manage their own stress and feelings, and the reason why emotional self-awareness and mindfulness are so important in times of crisis, is because leaders become emotional contagions, inflicting positive or negative feelings on others.
And, although sometimes leaders may want to induce some stress into a situation to insert new energy and momentum, most of the time it’s better to engage people in positive pursuits to retain a higher level of creativity, productiveness, and engagement.
We can’t be positively infectious with others unless we’re feeling inspired and sustained ourselves first. That’s what leaders managing high-stress positions need to do to take care of themselves and to then involve and take care of others.
As a leader in this point in time, you don’t want to be faking your emotions. There is an enormous need for genuineness and transparency. And that means some leaders might have to actually train themselves to be caring, curious, and positive, which is hard to do when you’re in a state of threat or fear when self-protection becomes an overwhelming instinct.
There is a strong temptation to just dive right into business without acknowledging what others might be up against. Best practice is therefore to stop, pause, breathe, and remind yourself to be interested in what’s going on for others.
A shared vision or shared sense of purpose is the strongest predictor of organizational-leadership effectiveness, engagement, organizational citizenship, and even product innovation.
This is a time for leaders to try to invoke or provoke a degree of reflection, spending the time to talk about a shared sense of purpose and core values while also spending the time to emotionally check-in.
Purpose and vision are critical today, but only to the extent that both are recognized as updatable, and reflective of a continuous learning process.
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