CEOs and MDs need to be kinder to themselves

There’s been no shortage of articles online and in the press about ‘how to be a better leader’ during the COVID-19 crisis. Of course, leaders are having to do things differently and think about their business and their employees in a different way, but being inundated with articles and thought pieces telling you just how badly you could be doing doesn’t help.

In fact, our experience is that leaders are working harder than ever, whilst also making sure that their employees are taking time out, flexing work around caring responsibilities and looking after their mental and physical wellbeing.

Anecdotally, we’re hearing that bosses are working longer hours from home and keeping devices on so that they can respond to business and employee concerns at any time. They’re trying to keep track of the support on offer and preparing for a return to work, all whilst keeping the business operational in difficult times.

If you’re a leader whose business is still operating during this period, you’re likely to be busier than ever. You may have to re-structure your business completely – something that you usually have the luxury of doing over a significant period of time. Or you may have to change your operations to account for the restrictions in opening or social distancing. You may have re-focused your business into designing, developing or producing equipment and supplies to help support the health service, or you might have re-directed your drivers to help charities with food deliveries.

You may just be one of the fortunate businesses who have seen demand for certain products rise and are trying to meet that demand safely and with a sympathetic customer service experience.

Whatever the circumstances, it seems that leaders aren’t practicing what they preach to their staff. This means that when you do return to work you could be tired, mentally low and not really able to motivate and support your staff in what will be a tricky transition.

So, if you’ve been working 12-14 hour days for the past three months, from an office that you’ve put together at home, being in contact 24/7 and not taking any extra time off, perhaps now is the time to re-assess the way you work.

Take some days off. Put some boundaries around your working hours. Shut your office down in the evening and either put your laptop away or shut the door to the room it’s in so that you’re not tempted to check emails. Set specific times when you’ll be available for calls and stick to them.

Your people will respect that you’re taking some time for yourself – and taking the advice that you’re giving to them. And you’ll be in a better physical and mental place to take on the next challenge.

 

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