I am noticing 90% of the conversations I engage in start with the question “how are you?” Typical answers . . .
Usually followed up with, “and you?” and the answers parrot the initial answers . . .
Do the same tally with your work interactions. I’ll bet you will notice the same thing.
The deeper question is how are you really doing? I mean really.
There’s no doubt that with COVID-19 our lives have significantly changed. A therapist on the news today talked about anxiety, stress, depression and fear. Social media is pushing apps like Calm and other tools to help people because of the impact. Our college kids are back—kind of—and our school age kids are also learning and playing in different ways. Most of us are at home. And we’re working full time. Likely by now, we’ve either been impacted directly, or the circle of impact is swirling around us dangerously close.
Given that backdrop I’m not sure things are “good”, “fine”, or “okay”.
It’s super helpful to have a deeper conversation with each other, to reach out and connect beyond the surface. I’m personally missing those interactions as I’m fortunate enough to be in the office most of the time. The ways in which we establish and maintain authentic connections with each other are so very critical right now. If left unchecked, many feel—especially at work—distant and anonymous. As leaders, we must take more control of ensuring everyone, including ourselves, feels connected. Think of the metaphor of being on an airplane for the pre-flight speech that talks about putting your own emergency mask on first. As parents and leaders, asking yourselves about how you are really doing is a way to first address your own state of mind so that you can be in a better position to help others.
I’ll go first. How am I really doing?
This is hard.
I’ve felt more stressed, more pressure to “do it all”. I’m worried about the virus, how long it will take to get a vaccine, and the impact to our healthcare system. I’m not as patient as I need to be.
I’m concerned about all of you, our team, and how you are dealing with it.
I suspect we try to put a good “game face” on which is why we say we’re “good, fine or okay”. We think it helps at work to get right to business, the PowerPoints, meetings, etc. And for some that helps. But do we rest? Do we stop and take time to think? Have there been any positives coming out of this that we’ll take forward forever? Conversely, are there things or patterns that this has told us are ready to stop or change for good?
I’m recommending that we ask each other these deeper questions, that we take the time to really understand how people are doing. Don’t take the easy way out. I think it requires an investment in others. Take time to reach out to those you are thinking about, or start your next meeting with a deeper level check-in, perhaps allowing people to recognize someone else for their contributions.
I’d suspect that we’re all in the same boat. If anyone wants to talk, check in, and share how you are really doing, I’m willing to meet and talk with anyone—it’s that important to me. The better we can relate to each other, the better we will be at getting through this together.
Stay safe and feel free to post replies about what is going on with you and I look forward to hearing from many of you. One of my goals is to revive my blogging practice in September 2020.