Social Impact Leadership in a Time of Uncertainty
Pearl Street Collective recently convened a small group of social impact leaders to discuss how to adapt their leadership styles in light of COVID-19 and its effect on their employees, themselves, and their mission. The conversation was facilitated by leadership expert Wendy Woolfork of The Purpose Walk.
Leaders must prioritize self care during times of crisis because it helps mitigate the effects of anxiety. A short-term preoccupation with the negative blocks the future as a source of hope. Anxiety ultimately impacts our ability to think clearly at a moment when leaders need to think through what the mission needs and how to forecast. Further, the onslaught of COVID-19 facts can fuel anxiety and fertilize regression in the absence of a “normal” office workplace environment (so, be judicious about information updates that you share and rely on new updates from official sources). Partners and families have been thrust together and anxiety can upend relationships at home, creating room for friction. You must work to mitigate the effects of tension in the family and recognize how it affects your focus and energy.
Strategies for Managing Self
- Design your mission for resilience. Leaders should centralize coordination around the mission and distribute control, giving people a chance to help with execution.
- Prioritize self-care. The impact of how you function as a leader relies on you getting enough rest and exercise. The quality of self-care is directly tied to the quality of care you provide for the communities you serve.
- Identify coping tools that build your resistance to anxiety. Developing and refining essential muscles will help you face the demands of leading in this altered normal.
- Identify relaxation tools:
- 30 min. aerobic exercises, deep breathing, visual imaging, connect with others, mindfulness. Search for apps that provide these tools.
- Preserve relationships at home by creating a specific corner for people to have their own space.
- Pace news consumption and rely on only one to two credible sources.