As I write this I am at the bedside of my father who fell and is now admitted to hospital with broken ribs and a broken wrist. My father is in his eighties and is frail both mentally and physically and I am responsible for his day-to-day care. Typically when I say I have this I covered, I mean really covered, from meds to finances to small rituals and routines. This is not the first hospital visit and normally I would be able to take this in my stride, I’ve so got this. Except I don’t…
With COVID I will shortly have to leave him alone in the hospital and I will not be able to see him for a few days, even if he has surgery. Even though his ailment is unrelated to COVID, it touched our lives. As I sit here a thousand scenarios are playing out in my mind and I feel really vulnerable – vulnerable for him, vulnerable me, and for feeling vulnerable.
This makes me wonder, how many people in the past year have been overlooked?
How many people have been impacted indirectly by COVID? How often have people complained about illness or mental health issues to be told: “at least it is not COVID”. It may not be COVID but it is still real, scary, and does impact our sense of general safety and well-being.
Now before I fall into a level of self-pity that requires at least one container of Häagen-Dazs, it is important to reflect on a few important points.
- I work for myself, there is no foot-tapping, timesheet watching boss to appease.
- I have a wonderful tribe of associates helping me postpone meetings, taking over for me where they can, and are sending paired down to-do lists so I only need to focus on the most essential work.
- My friends, who stop at nothing to help me keep my household going.
- Long-standing and generous clients who are willing to be kind at this moment.
- A job and business I adore and which leaves me energized.
I wonder how many other people feel the same? Probably not many. In a time of such vulnerability, I wonder if there is more we can do in business to create productive kindness. Can we:
Use smart collaboration to provide the support team members and colleagues need while still meeting business expectations.
Consider multi-skilling and cross-skilling as a staple along with proper succession planning.
Create a company culture that is as employee-focussed as it is client-focussed.
What personal and professional development and coaching. specifically around wellbeing and resilience during these challenging times can we provide for our team? This will not only create a support network now but create a resilient company culture to manage future challenges.
Accept that work needs to be purposeful and meaningful and that team-members would like to show up, be present and perform.
How can you link business strategy to team member performance at every level? Be clear about linking expectations to team member contribution and strengths. What do they do, why is it meaningful to the business, and why they are the best person to do it. Use recognition, work, and job satisfaction to re-energize team members.
For too long it has been okay in the business world that team members are treated as mere resources. Right now organizations that can rise to the challenge of productive kindness are going to become key players in the search and retention of the best skills and talents. They will also show the best of what humanity has to offer when the bottom line is not only measured in currency but also team member growth and engagement.
About the Author:
Innocente Burger is an Inspired Leadership Channel Partner, based in Johannesburg, South Africa. She is a Transformational Human Capital Consultant, Strengths Coach, and International Public Speaker. She assists businesses to improve employee engagement. This results in increased productivity and performance for businesses with remote/ virtual teams, co-located teams, and hybrid teams. This includes businesses who, specifically during the COVID crisis need to implement remote work and flexi-time.
Her areas of focus include:
– assisting with the transition to virtual or remote working in businesses
– defining or re-igniting company culture
– positioning leadership to achieve organizational strategy
– performance management to support progress
– ensuring engagement by employees
– educating organizations on improving productivity
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