Leader, I see you.
I coach leaders, and I have the privilege to witness many of you who are rising above the challenge to provide extraordinary support and leadership to their teams.
Maybe you’re a leader in health care at the front line who is consumed with preparation or community response. Perhaps you’re a leader in small business or a critically impacted industry facing tough choices regarding staff reductions.
For some leaders, innate optimism and resilience carries you onward. For others, it’s an inherent ability to take a broad perspective and solve problems. And, for others, it’s authentic concern for the wellbeing of employees you truly care about.
What the best leaders have in common is an awareness of what they do with excellence, and the discipline of engaging their strengths every day to make a difference in the lives of those they lead.
As I observe these leaders with pride and wonder, an important question weighs on my heart. Under the constant pressure of needing to be the “calm in the storm” for so many, how are these leaders caring for themselves?
I love the concept of the oxygen mask. You hear it every time you get on a plane: “In the event of a loss of cabin pressure, your oxygen mask will appear. Remember to secure your own before securing the masks of those around you.”
The logic behind this instruction is simple. If you fail to get that mask on and pass out, you can’t help others. I would argue that this same logic applies to leadership. You cannot care for others if you are not first caring for yourself.
I challenge you to reflect on this question and proactively develop strategies for self-care. Here are a few suggestions for consideration:
- Stay connected. Make connection with friends and family a priority. Reach out to trusted friends who listen to and uplift you.
- Honor transition time. At the end of the day, take five minutes in the car or your home office to breathe. Reflect on the successes and challenges of the day and make plans and set priorities for the next. If your circumstances allow it, give yourself permission to then step away.
- Make time for the things you love. Even if only for thirty minutes, engaging in an activity that you enjoy can be a great stress reliever.
- Don’t forget about physical self-care. Eat well, move your body, get outside each day, and do your best to get adequate rest.
- Practice gratitude and focus on the things you can control versus those you can’t.
Leader, rest assured that I see you. The work you are doing is incredible and the opportunities you have to positively impact those you lead are immeasurable. In this time of great uncertainty, many of your employees are struggling and we applaud your efforts to support them. We need you and the significant and unique leadership talents that you possess. We need you to take care of you. Be well.
–‘Chelle Ham is a Senior Leadership Consultant at Talent Plus.