This week I want to dive into the pandemic’s effect on organizations. Maybe you’re rolling your eyes thinking, “oh boy, we’ve heard this before,” but I promise you a new perspective. The pandemic has had a vast and powerful impact on whole-person leadership.
If you haven’t read my latest book, you might not be totally sure what that is. But, as I elaborate on how the pandemic has had this effect, I think you will recognize it within your own life as well as your organizations.
Pre-pandemic, we were already vastly different from one another. We were so different because we all had varying levels of intersectionality. Intersectionality is defined as “the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual (or group), regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage.”
Then Covid swept through like a natural disaster, uprighting everything in its path. As a result, all of these ties of intersectionality have been pushed, broken, or worn down. Now, all points where our lines of intersection cross another person’s look different.
During the pandemic, I think we can confidently agree that our view of ourselves changed. We watched as trauma forced changes we didn’t envision for ourselves. And as we changed for better or for worse, our visions changed. As a result, what was once congruent and lined up within our minds and lives has also changed.
The Way Forward
Surely this affects all organizations because the person you once were that your manager or fellow employees knew has changed. The level of trauma caused by the pandemic forced all of our hands to rethink our values and priorities. It forced us to figure out what was important to us.
Organizations and leaders will do better in the long run if they try to reacquaint themselves with the new you. I urge organizations to pivot and focus on the people standing before them (or behind their monitors at home). Focus on whole-person leadership and try to get to know the new visions that were born inside your employees’ minds and hearts. You will need to go deeper. It will require getting comfortable being uncomfortable, but it will also unite your organization like never before.
For instance, maybe your employees’ vision changed, and they now want to work in a different country, or remotely, or only come into the office a few days. What would that look like for the organization? For the team? For your relationship?
Whole Person Leadership
Whole person leadership considers every employee’s mind, body, spirit, emotions, and identities in and outside of work. Besides, if you’re like me, you can probably conceptualize ideas but struggle to put them into action.
So I have some suggestions for you to tactically lead the whole person with your employees and meet them where they’re at. For example, if you are working remotely, then have mandatory coffee chats with your team.
- Buy them a cup of coffee or a pastry and sit down for no more than 15 minutes to talk about whatever it is they want to talk about.
- If you are in the office, then simply walk around and spend time socializing with your employees.
- Ask them about their families and how the pandemic has been for them and their loved ones.
When conversing with your employees, ask them open-ended yet focused questions, like:
- How are things going with you overall?
- What makes your heart sing?
- What is really dragging you down right now?
Get to know each person within your team or even the whole organization. Creating a community of support and trust will help us withstand whatever hardships we face. We are not the same people. We might look the same, but no one is the same. Lastly, organizations must change with their people. Those who don’t will lose them.