Leadership in times of crisis reminds us how challenging it is to manage your own stress while supporting others. While much of the world is sheltering in place or physically distancing themselves from others to prevent the spread of COVID-19, many people are finding themselves unemployed or facing incredible uncertainty. How we lead in moments like this can significantly impact the lives of others. How do we manage our own stress and anxiety with the weight of this responsibility? Here are a few things I am working on:
As I emerge from the train station in the heart of San Francisco’s Mission District, my senses are overwhelmed with the sights, sounds, and smells of a bustling neighborhood. I’m in the Mission to provide coaching support to a program director at one of the community-based organizations in the neighborhood.
The Mission District is changing. The effects of gentrification and the housing crisis are visible everywhere. All my coaching clients in the neighborhood frequently mention the fears, vulnerability and active resistance of the immigrant community here. They do important and challenging work, and I’m painfully aware of my status as an outsider. So I step lightly, listen carefully and avoid giving any advice too quickly.
Most people assume personal growth is just result of getting older; it’s not. Growth is not automatic. It does not necessarily come with experience, or simply as a result of gathering information. Personal growth must be deliberate and consistent. Growth requires a plan.