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Keeping Your Center as a Leader

Some tips and pragmatic tools for stabilizing your own work

Tools and Samples to Support Your Leadership

Last time, we shared four pillars for leading your team through the COVID-19 Era:

In our work with clients, we gathered some tools and exemplars to share with you this week:

  • Ideas to spark connection: Take a look at these ideas to spark new ways of being present and supportive with your team.

  • Put your True North on Paper: Here is a template we are using with coaching clients to articulate their team’s True North and to create a conversation around it.

  • Examples of a True North team meeting. At Uplift Education, the team checked in on their True North in a team meeting. They reminded themselves of their team commitment to credibility, care, and compassion, and they re-set what that looked like for them in this COVID-19 time. Check out the slides and the meeting note catcher to see what this can look like.

If you articulated your True North with your team or have creative connection ideas, please contact us to share examples!


Some Tips - A Compassionate Check In With Yourself

We’re guessing that you’ve hit one of those days by now . . . Your once-energized team is feeling exhausted from all of the uncertainty you’re experiencing. Your technology freezes up right in the middle of an important team conversation. You have a monumental list of things to do before noon, but you need to help your own children with their remote learning assignments. You go to bed feeling tired, unsuccessful, and worried.

We feel you. Those days are so hard. And unfortunately, none of us gets to do this hard work without some difficult days in our new COVID-19 reality.

Amidst all of the swirl, your goal as a leader isn’t to remain unphased. In these moments, your goal is figuring out how to come back to center - to take care of yourself and stay grounded as much as you can.

Inspired by a recent podcast by Brené Brown and the writings of noted psychologist and meditation teacher Tara Brach, we want to pause and talk about some tools to take care of yourself.

  1. Pause and acknowledge the moments when you are off center. Brach talks about a practice of “recognizing and allowing” times where we need self compassion. For fast paced, hard charging leaders, sometimes it doesn’t feel like an option to have an off day. But, as Brené Brown says, naming things gives us power. Taking a moment to acknowledge that you are human, that you are navigating a new reality, that you have limitations gives you a chance to decide what you are going to do about it. So in those moments that you are feeling less-than-stellar, take time to pause and acknowledge what you are experiencing.

  2. Explore what your biggest needs are. Often the emotional response you are experiencing might be pointing to an unmet underlying need. Yes, you might feel irritable, but what is underneath that? Yes, it’s frustrating that the team call didn’t go to plan today. But what else made the bumps seem extra challenging for you?

  3. Make the ask - of yourself or of others. With so many people asking YOU for things, it’s easy to forget that you can be someone who asks, too. Maybe what you need is a family dinner tonight without phone interruptions because you’re feeling disconnected from your loved ones. It could be a long, solitary hike this weekend to calm all of the noise. It could be calling a friend to say out loud how hard this is, or asking a colleague to facilitate an upcoming meeting so you can get a little more rest tonight. Commit to do what feels nurturing given where you are and what you need.

To do the hard work that we are engaged in during this crisis, it is critical that we take care of ourselves. Giving yourself the space and permission to address your own needs and come back to your center doesn’t decrease your capacity to take care of others. Instead, it expands and sustains your capacity to do so. As leaders, we keep showing up as best as we can - for ourselves and for others.

We so admire you for all that you are giving right now. Please take care of you.


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