23 Aug 2021, 10:30 — 7 min read
March 2020. When everything changed—the way we worked, the way we shopped, the way we connected with family and friends, the way we envisioned the future. It all changed, overnight. We all found our coping mechanisms— yoga, meditation, journalling— whatever worked. I took to reflecting on what this pandemic has taught me. I share with you today my learning and my perspective.
What’s required is a fine balance between consistency and agility
Consistency has been considered the sign of good leadership. More often, it displayed determination, resilience to keep producing excellent results over and over again. As times evolved, especially in the last years, we realized the need to be agile, be ready for uncertainty, be ready to take risks, be ready to fail and relearn and deliver again.
It is important to quickly and dispassionately let go of old ways of working and adapt to new ways of working and thriving.
The pandemic has taught me that it is important to maintain a fine balance between both. It is important to quickly and dispassionately let go of old ways of working and adapt to new ways of working and thriving. It is a balance we need to maintain—being agile enough to adapt to new ideas and consistently integrate the new ideas with the organization vision, set up process and define systems which will foster agility while consistently keep the eyes on the targets and vision.
It’s important to create a sense of belongingness and trust, even digitally
A recent Gallup Survey revealed some starling data that less than half of the employees feel strongly that their employees care about their Wellbeing. The pandemic has only made things tougher where most remote workers feel more distant than ever before. There is a digital fatigue, stress due to uncertainty and a feeling of hopelessness, all of which has led to employees feeling drained and mentally exhausted.
In such situations, it’s vital to create a sense of trust and belongingness among employees. It is important to be able to create a personal connect—getting to know your teams, asking about their families and checking in on them often. It is equally important to align their work to the larger vision of the organization so they see meaning in their work.
It is a must for all managers to know their teams, their personal values and aspirations and build that connect. It may sound like a lot of work but if not followed, we stand at a risk of losing the employee’s engagement. We must work hard to create this connect every day; it is as important as achieving business goals and targets. We want to work with teams who are passionate, energetic and positive and the first stem to that is listening to your teams and being there for them.
Resilience and grit differentiate winners
It is important to understand the difference between grit and resilience as these qualities are essential for thriving (not just surviving) in a situation of uncertainty.
Grit is the perseverance and passion we have that rallies us towards reaching a goal or a vision we have created for ourselves. Resilience is the positivity and optimistic outlook that helps us bounce back every time we stumble and fail. These two qualities are what will separate the winners from the rest.
Grit is the perseverance and passion we have that rallies us towards reaching a goal. Resilience is the optimistic outlook that helps us bounce back every time we stumble and fail.
Resilience has been shown to positively influence work satisfaction and engagement, as well as overall well-being, and can lower depression levels.
In her book titled Grit, Author Angela Duckworth lists the four assets required to develop the quality:
Wellbeing is the true wealth
There is a lot of truth in Benjamin Franklin’s quote: “Early to Bed, Early to Rise, Makes a Man Healthy Wealthy and Wise.” In the initial days of the pandemic, I was staying up late, waking up late and eating too much. And it led to health issues. I learned the hard way that health is truly wealth. Conversations about mental wellness are still a taboo. However, it’s as important to speak to a counsellor or a therapist in times of duress and stress as it is to visit a physician when physically unwell.
At an organization level too, the key to a high performing and productive workplace is a workforce that is healthy physically and mentally. Wellbeing indicates greater morale (more positive emotions), less stress and higher job satisfaction. The ‘happy-productive worker’ thesis by Christensen, 2017; DiMaria et al., 2019 states that employee wellbeing is a positive determinant of greater levels of employee and firm-level labour productivity. Experts therefore recommend improving levels of employee wellbeing to solve the slow productivity puzzle.
These reflections have made me realize the importance of selfcare, the importance of teams, families and friends. In these times of uncertainty, a thought that has always helped me surge ahead every day with renewed energy and passion is to learn to take one day at a time.
Also read: Reflections of a retail leader
Image source: shutterstock.com
Article published in STOrai Magazine. Bidisha Banerjee is the Global Group Vice President Talent, Culture and Employer Branding at Welspun Group. She has close to 20 years of rich experience in industries like Retail, Insurance, and Telecom with MNCs and Indian Organisations. Bidisha is known for her forward-thinking attitude. She is an expert in driving Organisation Culture Change Initiatives, DEI initiative, HR Strategy in line with the business. She is a certified Coach and Alumnus of SDA Bocconi Milan and has a business degree with a specialisation in Design Thinking.
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