There is nothing quite so influential as panic. For leaders, it can be an uphill battle to remain calm, project level-headedness, and at the same time ensure transparency to their teams. That openness in the face of uncertainty and natural worry however, can mean the difference between a successful connected team and a rudderless company filled with unsure and dissatisfied employees.
Leaders, especially in a startup environment, are used to burning the candle at both ends. They are used to the hustle and pushing themselves beyond their limits for their businesses. But leaders are humans too. When they are well rested, when they take care of themselves, know when to break, know when to disconnect and know when to share their struggles honestly, it influences their teams to do the same. This helps everyone avoid undue stress and burnout at all levels of a company. When teammates are worried about their families, worried about how safe the grocery store might be, and worried about getting sick? Trust me, the last thing that anyone needs during a global pandemic is burnout at work!
As I said above, nothing is as influential as panic. Whether that panic is spread by a coworker or by a co-founder matters because of the perception of authority and credibility that leadership imbues. We all want our bosses to be well informed, and to make rational decisions. If they project sheer panic, it is almost impossible to avoid taking on those stresses ourselves. If leadership takes a mindfulness based approach to this uncertain and tumultuous time, these changes in how-and-where we work, and the important choices they have to make for their employees and business, they will be able to weather this storm with a satisfied team.
This isn’t to say that leadership teams should pretend that everything is business as usual, or show no emotion in the face of a state of emergency. The ability to show genuine vulnerability during unpleasant situations while still aiming for a clear path forward is a sure sign of a leader who will inspire respect, confidence, and foster connection. Finding that path can be a challenge, and it is important to explore the nuances and differences that make your specific team unique. Not only are we all living in unprecedented times, we all have entirely novel needs when it comes to our teams. If the step of open internal consultation within a company is skipped, leaders run the risk of throwing initiatives and processes at their employees without considering the fit for the actual individual human beings who they work with. That doesn’t result in a clear path forward, that results in half-hearted initiatives, inconsistent policies, and a lack of confidence across the team.
At Quantum Mob during this pandemic, we have been prioritizing self care and social connections. We have always had a highly social company culture, one that values camaraderie and knowledge sharing. Our leadership team makes it a goal to be accessible, eager to share a meal or a drink, and is quick to celebrate wins at all levels. Working remotely, the methods of which these goals can be achieved has changed, however we take pride in the successful steps we’ve taken thus far to do just that. We are excited to continue exploring the needs of the entire Quantum Mob family, and consult with our teammates to find the right path forward.