Looking after your team in high-pressure environments

6 October 2021

Things are tough right now and leaders and team members need looking after. Now is not a time to strive to be the best or to focus on some ‘extra’ work you’re interested in. The focus should be on making the best of an incredibly difficult time, and to come through it together. 

So, what can leaders do?

Leadership is not easy at this unprecedented time. Most leadership texts and ‘best practice’ advice for crisis situations or stressful environments are just not quite right for where we are. We are deep into a continuing crisis and, whether we like it or not, we must keep going. 

Two components of effective leadership for now are:

  1. Care and containment
  2. Strategic planning and communication. 

Often this is not going to be pretty, or even best practice, but it will be realistic. Leaders need to be real, to talk about what we are facing honestly and openly. This can help to free up themselves and their colleagues of the burden and moral distress that the current way of working is not OK, but it’s good enough given the current parameters. 

Care and containment

Strategic planning and communication

This is leadership for now. It’s not ‘crisis management 101’, nor is it about recovery or rebuilding. It’s about what we can do; small things to keep each other going. To keep connected, and keep open in the way we talk about, navigate, and prioritise what we can do each hour and each day.

Dr Anna Clark PhD
Leadership consultant & coach

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