It’s time to be there for our medical professionals. They have always taught us to be healthy and take action to prevent potential physical and mental ailments. Nurses, doctors and medical staff are used to evidence, data and certainty. Right now, they don’t have it.
The lack of certainty combined with lack of medical supplies and staff is reason for us to take ownership and be there for health care professionals. We have always looked to them to heal us, guide us, or even bring us back to life. This “consistent crisis” is something new and the anxiety can be viral. Employers and employees can work together to flatten the anxiety curve with growth so we can keep people out of the hospital.
Anxiety is as contagious as COVID-19. Anxiety is the most common mental illness for adults. It affects 40 million adults. Adults with anxiety disorders are three to five times more likely to go to see a doctor and six times more likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric disorders. Anxiety plays a role in lowering your immune system and ability to fight off sickness. If we work together to lower our collective anxiety, we can decrease the chances that people will have compromised immune systems and therefore lessen the strain on health care professionals.
Let’s face it, we can turn on the news and be impressed or disheartened by what we see our American CEOs doing and saying. What leaders do now is a magnifier of your brand. People will always remember how you treated them in the worst of times and if done with a value-based approach it can lead you to the best of times. There are so many companies getting it right, LL Bean, Comcast, Cisco, Microsoft, Google and many others. These companies are willing to be people focused and they sacrifice so we can all gain.
What about the smaller businesses? Haddonfield Fitness in New Jersey has a community who thrive on working out and immediately let clients know that no one will lose their class passes. They took a step further and set up virtual classes. They gave people what they needed: A connected place to work out and a focus on keeping the community connected.
Emotion is contagious, so be intentional in your interactions and focus on helping people feel connected, positive, motivated and in control. Growth Leadership is a people-first approach that starts with yourself so you can help others. Focus not only on the needs of the moment but building people and business for the future. Employees who see their leaders focusing on doing what’s right will remain loyal and engaged for years to come. Don’t let navigating the crisis become a greater crisis.
Despite popular opinion, people can be directly motivated and appreciate diversity. The work of Harvard University psychologist David McClelland on social motives taught us that we all have innate needs that drive us in our work lives. This leads to the four motivators of motivational currency: performance, people, power and purpose. Successful motivational leadership is about being able to recognize primary motivations, read what motivates your team, and lead with intention so you can motivate others quickly and efficiently.
Our minds are like computers. Positive input leads to positive output. The idea of work-life balance has become work-life integration. Our minds need a rest. You cannot sustain being a firefighter if there is a fire every day. Be realistic and realize that we need to practice the 3 R’s. Recognize our stress triggers; Reset with active stress management, humor or self-care; and Rebuild our strengths, enjoyment and growth.
Based on their research of families of 9/11 and 18 years of experience helping people grow through adversity, trauma, loss and crises, the nonprofit Hold the Door For Others created the OTHERS(S) framework. The Growth Resources and a self-awareness tool are designed to not only buffer the negative effect of crises, but lead you to growth. The eight resources are: Optimism, True Meaning, Humor, Emotional intelligence, Resilience, Spirituality, Self-confidence and OTHERS(S).
According to Deloitte, 77 percent of Americans will face burnout with many of them having more than one burnout experience. Anxiety is a pandemic, but we have the solutions: socially connecting, growth and people focused leadership, and taking steps toward our personal growth. Let’s all learn and pass it on. America values life. It’s time to stop the political attacks and declare war on mental illness.
Leaders matter and you are one. We can all take our own stress temperatures and take growth steps to flatten the anxiety curve.
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