Leadership Reflections (Part One)
Leadership Reflections is a two-part series co-authored by Reagan Freed, Solvere HR Consulting and Erin Greilick, Core Consulting and Coaching. In this series, we explore the monumental impacts that have occurred in the business environment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through insights and thought-provoking questions, we hope to inspire leaders to achieve greater business outcomes through personal growth and learnings.
Self-Reflections: Fueling Your Learnings Into Action
Fear and uncertainty run rampant during times of change. And we’ve had no shortage of change over the last six (6) months! Our worlds have been turned upside down as we were forced to quickly adjust to social isolation, food scarcity, working remotely or not working at all, homeschooling kiddos and so much more. It is fair to say we all are operating with more stress, fear and anxiety in our lives than we are normally accustomed to. Whether we like it or not, that naturally translates into how we show up in the workplace.
Research has consistently shown that employees who experience mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression, are less productive in the workplace. In a recent study, it was reported that roughly 70% of Americans are currently experiencing moderate-to-severe mental distress (Twenge & Joiner 2020). This is substantially higher than previous studies and has no doubt had an impact in your organization.
- How have the impacts to your personal life translated into the workplace?
- Have you noticed a change in employee performance, engagement and productivity?
- What mental health resources are available to your employees and their families?
Leaders are not immune from these statistics. In fact, as business leaders, you have an added layer of stress as you have had to scramble to keep your business afloat, quickly make changes to your technology, processes and work environment all while maintaining enough revenue to make payroll. Without question, the somersaults you’ve experienced in both your personal and professional life have created an extraordinary amount of stress and pressure. During high stress times, we naturally default to our stress behaviors (yep, we all have them!). And let’s face it, our stress behaviors aren’t a reflection of our best selves.
- What are your stress behaviors?
- What are signs that you are too stressed?
- How have you shown up to your employees during this time?
- What stress management techniques are you using to reduce your stress behaviors?
When leaders can’t effectively manage stress or maintain a positive attitude, it has a trickle-down effect on the entire organization. In a recent article, Gallup reports that:
“Managers are the linchpin of the employee experience — in fact, they account for an astounding 70% of the variance in team engagement.”
Said another way — you control 70% of the engagement on your team! How you show up and lead your team every day has never mattered more.
Further, high levels of stress reduce empathy which means we become unable to relate to others effectively. When highly stressed leaders fail to achieve desired results, they become even more stressed, further exacerbating the cycle.
- How have you demonstrated empathy and understanding to your employees?
- What gets in the way of you being/feeling more empathetic?
- What methods are you using to inspire and engage your team?
- How do you maintain your engagement during periods of high stress and personal distractions?
While it is true that business leaders are experiencing a different, heightened level of stress, we can all relate to the changes happening in our personal lives and communities. Now, more than ever your employees need empathy, understanding and support during these unprecedented times.
“If employees don’t feel supported or informed, their performance, engagement and wellbeing are on the line — which puts bottom-line outcomes at risk too.” – Gallup
In Part Two of the Leadership Reflections series, we will reflect on the changes that occurred in your business. Through another round of insights and thought-provoking questions, we will explore the learnings your organization experienced and how they impacted your bottom-line outcomes. Stay tuned!
In the meantime, we would love to hear more about the self-reflections and learnings that have inspired your personal growth and development. Connect with us and share your experience!
About The Authors:
Reagan Freed, owner/founder of Solvere HR Consulting, brings over 20 years of experience developing people strategies that support organizational goals. Her broad knowledge of HR and business disciplines enable her to develop unique people strategies designed to contribute to overall strategy and directly impact bottom line results.
Reagan uses her experience to support small business and nonprofit organizations. She specializes in HR strategy, employee engagement, HR compliance and refining employment structures to meet the ongoing and evolving needs of each unique business.
Reagan earned her Bachelor’s from the University of Colorado, Denver and is a certified SHRM-SCP. Reagan serves on the Board of Directors for the Boulder HR Association (BAHRA) and the Colorado State HR Council (COSHRM).
Erin Greilick is the founder of Core Consulting and Coaching, a boutique firm specializing in strategic change and executive development. She earned her Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior from Claremont Graduate University and her MA in Clinical Psychology from the University of Hawaii, Manoa.
Erin is a systems-thinker, working quickly to understand complex issues, identifying root causes, and bringing smart, integrated solutions to organizations. She has a long-proven track record of being a trusted advisor, working with executives and senior leaders in both the Private and Public sectors, in industries ranging from Food Service to Health Care.
Erin and her husband are devoted parents to their son, and she enjoys traveling, eating, and cooking (and takes all opportunities to combine these three joys!).