The Seven Stones Blog

Leadership Resources for COVID-19

By Seven Stones Leadership

To those who were able to join us for the Audacity of Hope conversation last week, thank you. The following is our expanded resource page with questions regarding trauma, connecting, productivity and money. Please feel free to share among your team, colleagues and family.

Being Aware of Trauma

Despite how your team looks to you and how well it appears they are performing, they are likely in some kind of trauma response. People are skillful at coping on top of trauma. And, underneath they may still be weary or triggered. 

It is important for us to be on the lookout for things that might signal our people are struggling, even a month out from the beginning of this.

Signals include: sleeplessness, anxiety, restlessness, trouble concentrating, dissociation, staring off into space, forgetting things, uncontrollable crying, flashbacks to earlier trauma in one’s life both adult life and childhood trauma, being less productive, forgetful, and agitated more easily.

All of us, no matter how resilient, may experience and notice that whatever we do to "cope," we are doing more of it. So, if you or someone on your team likes to fix, you may be fixing lots right now. If you are someone who gets very anxious under pressure, you might be experiencing a serious increase in anxiety. Whatever you do normally under pressure, you will likely do more in response to the stimuli of the new normal we are in. When people are triggered into their reptilian brain, it’s harder to listen, hear, learn, and rise up to meet the moment with grace.

Mourning Our Losses

We are all letting go or holding on for dear life. Mostly we are doing some of both. Please know that the grieving process is real and is most likely also active under the surface. People have lost a sense of certainty, a sense of the future, their routines, revenue, some have lost their health. These are all considered the top stressors for anyone. To read more about mourning as an act of sufficiency, click here.

While we are mourning and possibly experiencing a present and residual trauma response pattern, more than ever is being asked of us. Please be on the look out for signs that your people are not doing well. Normalize the responses they may be having. Stress, in no uncertain terms, that they need breaks, time off and time to renew. Model it.

Connecting with Your Team

  • A lot of tiny touch points can help the nervous system.
  • More is better. Do what makes sense for your culture and we recommend twice a day for checkpoints with your team.
  • How do we create this balance?
    • Work inside a defined schedule. 
    • Take at least 24 CONSECUTIVE hours per week off from work, including email and texting!
    • You may need to restructure the work week. Use all seven days to schedule.
    • If you have children who need support for homeschooling, do not work while they are doing their school work. Again, use all seven days and don’t try to fit everything in a 9-5 slot Monday through Friday. 
    • Trade off home responsibilities with your roommate, spouse or other family members who live with you.

If you or your team members are working from home with a partner or other people - create a check in time for everyone who lives in the house, for example you might be able to have lunch with your family during the week.

Productivity vs. Business as Usual

  • As coaches, we work with our clients to help them be in the moment and reach toward outcomes and goals they have set for themselves. This is what managers need to do in this moment.
  • Yes, there are promises and requests you can ask from your people. Let them set deadlines.
  • People are going to start looking at work days differently! It's not the typical 5 days on and 2 days off.
  • It is not business as usual, because this is an unusual time - you may want it to be that, but it isn’t. So as managers we need to stop saying it.
  • What things are we going to cease and desist right now to free up brain space and time?
  • What needs to be ended?
  • What possibilities does this pandemic bring to our organization?

Talking About Money

  • Whether you're doing collections, pricing or fundraising, acknowledge how tricky it is to have a conversation about money. 
  • Remember, fundraising is allowing us to allocate our resources to what we hold most dear. As fundraisers, you may redesign your "ask." Know that it might not be the right time and it’s okay if you are unsure. Make sure you say the truth of what is happening now, and acknowledge the complexity of needing money when people are struggling. 
  • Inquiry: what you can do now to be standing in October in a meaningful way? 
  • Be kind to yourself. The last time you managed through a global pandemic was never. It is okay to not know the answers. 
  • Focus on what’s here, right now.

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