I got home from work the other night, and I was watching a recording of the national news that my wife had rewound for me. My daughter was there and after a few minutes of listening to how quickly the virus had spread and to all the points of bad news, she asked when things would get back to normal. I guess that’s a question that many ask each day. When will I go back to school? When will I be able to see friends? When will I be able to go back to work? When will I no longer have to fear dying from this virus?
You may have people at work and home asking you similar questions. You are no doubt encountering people who are afraid, frustrated, and fighting off fatigue of just wanting some semblance of what they knew as “normal”.
As a leader, you didn’t ask for this global pandemic challenge, but you are in a position now, like never before, to have impactful influence over those you lead (both at work and home)! Here’s a few thoughts on how to respond to questions like the one my daughter asked:
1. Confront the facts. Don’t downplay the situation, start guessing at a “normal” date, or respond/lie about things you really don’t know. The facts are that we are in a global pandemic that we have not seen in our lifetime. Many people are going to get sick and many are going to die. We don’t know how long it will last. There will be tough economic times ahead as well. We do know that we have to execute our jobs safely and effectively so many will get the food and supplies they need to sustain lives. Those are the facts.
2. Never lose hope. We balance the facts with our firm resolve to never lose hope. We will get through this challenge and help many people get through it along the way. We don’t know when it will end, but we do know it will end. Everyone needs hope right now. I am not talking about a false hope in some targeted date when things get better, but a real hope that things will be better at some point and that we are doing things today that will lead us there!
That balance of confronting the brutal facts and yet maintaining a real hope for the future is the key. To maintain that balance, just do this one thing as a leader:
JUST FOCUS ON TODAY
Don’t look out how long this thing is projected to go on. Don’t get caught up in how many more weeks we have to live in this heightened state of focus dealing with all these issues. Just attack today. Get those you lead focusing on today for tomorrow will have its own challenges. Make the most of today, impact as many people as you can today. Seize this opportunity when people need leaders the most! Go make a difference with your teams today!
Confront the facts, give them hope, and just focus on winning the day!