More fantastic wellbeing and mental health advice from Dr Sven Hansen, friend of The Icehouse and founder of The Resilience Institute. As we approach the holiday season, Sven encourages people to be smart in planning and securing their end of year breaks. This article first appeared on The Resilience Institute website.
Preparing Leaders and People for 2022
With Covid’s fourth wave of infections and a new variant, we are deep in a prolonged adversity. Patience and resilience are wearing thin. To retain your best people and prepare them for the opportunities of 2022, we recommend you communicate the importance of an intelligent break at the end of the year.
Business is brilliant at knowing how to innovate and adapt through difficulty. In difficulty lies tremendous opportunity to differentiate, compete and grow. Right now, business needs people who can bounce, grow, connect, and find flow. While some are doing well, we know many will complete this year with an empty tank.
Right when real opportunity presents, people are feeling tired, bored, frustrated, and despondent. Imagine how some of your leaders feel after months of lockdown at home with young families? Far too many are sliding into the end of year without clear plans to take a needed break and refill their tanks.
Five end of year assumptions to question
Do not assume everyone is OK. Some people are in a bad place.
Recognise that some of your best leaders and professionals may resign.
Don’t assume that people will plan for an intelligent break.
Don’t assume that 2022 will bring a magical recovery.
Do not plan for business as usual. There will be new risks and opportunities.
A ten-point plan to renew your leadership and workforce
We search for ways to recover, renew, bounce, reset or even pivot into 2022. The past two years have been quite a ride. We in a prolonged pandemic. We have endured unprecedented lockdowns, prolonged isolation, and a raft of unpredicted business pressures.
Here are 10 ways to ensure that leaders and their teams are renewed.
1. Board and CEO must evaluate the status of leaders and insist on holidays
2. Engage all people leaders in helping their teams plan a smart break
3. Urge and even incentivise your people to take a good holiday
4. Provide a range of wellbeing or resilience initiatives – they are appreciated
5. Close the office and ask people to disengage for a least ten days
6. Reinforce the critical role of sleep, exercise, deep relaxation, and nature
7. Recommend that people get away from home if possible
8. Remind your people to consider what their loved ones need
9. Encourage novelty, travel, and creativity to be part of their breaks
10. Set clear expectations for what you expect when people return
Employ a coaching approach
Every context, organisation and team will be different and plans for 2022 will vary from survival through to aggressive growth and acquisition. This is a good time for leadership teams to match their own plans to their unique situations. The key question is what you want from your people when they return.
Just like a coaching team, be explicit with what you expect in 2022 and what you need from your people to meet your objectives. For example, when I think of our team, the following expectations present:
1. Even if you don’t recognise it, everyone needs a refreshing break
2. We need you back well rested, fit, positive, focused and energised
3. Plan a New Year’s resolution that rejuvenates you
4. Take care of your families and balance your needs with theirs
5. Get away from your screens and homes as much as possible
6. Reach out to and connect with your family and social networks
7. Remember and apply what you loved about holidays pre-Covid
8. Get out in nature for a minimum of an hour a day
There is no time to waste. The end of year is upon us. It is all too easy to slide around your screens, obsess about work, and let bad habits undermine you. Before you know it, you will be back at the grind in a depleted state.
Be strong, engage your leaders, encourage your people, involve families and address this issue now.
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