I don’t know about you, but it’s becoming increasingly apparent to me that still thinking that ‘things will go back to normal’ is a dangerous thought. Our lives before COVID and after COVID are so extremely different from one another. It surprises me if people still say ‘when things go back to normal’ and how often they say it.
When I think about life being definitively altered by COVID I feel sad. When I think of the number of people I have heard of passing on since lockdown started, it feels unusually high and that feels sad. Just considering this indicates to me that on mass, unexamined feelings of sadness experienced currently and globally, will have an impact on every facet of our communities for decades to come.
IMPACT ON ORGANISATIONAL CULTURE
I am not sure that there will be a definitive organizational culture in most corporates going forward, or even if the majority of the population will be permanently employed. The ‘big business’, with its toxic treatment of humanity may no longer be the place where we collectively gather; and this is hugely significant because most people working in corporations have to compromise themselves so much in favour of what their job requires that they have to numb their feelings to it, which means they numb their feelings to everything. If this systematic treatment of people no longer exists what hopefully will replace it is people taking more ownership of their personal integrity through building their self-esteem.
This radical restructuring of our social norms alone will require a fundamental, monumental & sustainable mindset shift towards Kind Leadership® from all of us.
Anyone in a position of influence over other people who is not committed to non-cognitive personal mastery work on themselves I suspect will find their role very hard in a virtual workplace. The reason for that is because whatever difficulties existed in your life before COVID, are only being heightened now. Trust being the most obvious example. The highly competitive way that our school systems, organizational systems and social systems have been set up has meant that trust has generally been chronically eroded amongst colleagues and in our communities. The global outpouring of grief is systematic of how our bias prevents us from seeing one another, literally; and if we can’t see one another we cannot trust one another. The voicing of so much emotion with #BlackLIvesMatter #AllLIvesMastter, for example; and all the responses is suggestive of us all needing to reorganize ourselves as individuals and communities to establish how we are going to learn to trust one another again, because we are neurologically wired to do so. Most organizational cultures are built on what is called ‘predictive trust’, which is not genuine trust. Trust is the single most important ingredient for any high-performance team to work; and any teams that are not build on genuine trust will not survive the online work world.
WHAT HAVE OUR ONLINE LIVES TAUGHT US?
For those of you who have known, since before Justin Bieber, that living in an online world could be fabulous,are no doubt breathing a sigh of relief that finally, although it took COVID to help, everyone else can now see how efficient online is (assuming you have WIFI and data).
My experience of coaching online is that it’s more intimate in a way than offline and has the potential to be a platform where we can all build deeply connected, very loyal and productive working relationships. Online is awash with opportunity and they are endless. But there’s a catch, and it’s vulnerability. Online we are all really deeply truly seen. Online, any inconsistency, insecurity and incompetency you may have will be seen. And, if you are in a position where you need others to trust you, online they will see how they cannot even more intensely.
This is why Kind Leadership® skills are no longer an optional extra, they are now an absolutely career-success necessity.
WHAT IS KIND LEADERSHIP®?
Kind Leadership® is a personal leadership style that is not dependent on your position in an organization or the social status you hold amongst others. Kind Leadership® is an attitude, a consciousness, a practice every day.
Leadership, as I understand it, is about being the kind of person that others voluntarily follow because instinctively they know it’s safe to do so and because it feels good. Please note I did not mention the word think.
Too many people ‘follow’ ‘leaders’ only because they think it would be a good ‘strategy’ to do so. The reasons are usually self-protective, which cannot mean that there is much loyalty attached. How often to people ‘switch alliances’ and ‘jump ship’ when management changes? This is hardly surprising behaviour though, considering how most large corporate culture is underpinned by suspicion and game playing at best with back-stabbing and bullying being almost acceptable too.
Kindness is a quality any of us can practice and can be defined as the ability to be generous and considerate, which interestingly are qualities that others perceive as trustworthy.
Kind Leadership® is therefore defined as one’s ability to relax your own agenda to the point where you can do what’s best for the collective. This is excruciatingly hard, especially in stressful times, and requires unwavering commitment to your own personal mastery by practicing 9 essential things for real emotional intelligence:
2) The humility to listen
7) Freedom (this is not what you think and takes a huge sense of responsibility)
None of the above is as easy as it appears.