Here we are on March 26, 2020, and we are in the middle of a pandemic. The news, guidance, and restrictions seem to change hour by hour. No one really knows where this whole thing is going. It has affected every area of our lives and it doesn’t feel good at all.
A couple of years ago, I was fortunate to spend a week in a class with Dr. Henry Cloud. It was life-changing. Yesterday, I was invited to attend a webinar that Dr. Cloud hosted from his home, with his dog interrupting at times. He called it, “The Psychology of a Crisis.” He shared five things that keep us centered as humans and how all five of these are being interrupted right now. He also shared how we as leaders can help restore these five things in the middle of the chaos. I believe you will find these very helpful and that it will also give you some tracks to run on as you search for how to best lead yourself and others right now.
Five Things to Restore in Times of Crisis
1) Loss of Connection
This is the first pillar that has been taken away.
Response: Create new ways to connect yourself and others. Create ways to talk to people, meet in groups online, and create ways to pray together.
2) Loss of Structure
Routines have been interrupted and everyone feels a bit lost.
Response: Quickly create new structures and schedules. Name the time, location, and rhythm you will go by.
3) Loss of Clear Thinking
We kick into fight or flight mode when we lose connection and structure. Different personalities respond differently. Our brains can’t think clearly when we are overloaded with stress and panic.
Response: Limit news intake, express your fight or flight thoughts to a friend. Naming the fears can help. Again, create new connections and new structures.
4) Loss of Control
Many of our choices are being made for us right now and we can move into a pattern called learned helplessness.
Response: Encourage people to list out what they can’t control and think about those things for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, make a list of what you can control and make action plans and goals around those things. Also, read Psalm 91 often.
5) Loss of Accomplishment
We need to accomplish things every day and most of the things we accomplished have been removed.
Response: Create new ways for people to use their gifts.
Other Things to Keep in Mind as a Leader:
- If you lead a group or organization, share three things: this is what is happening right now, this is what we are doing about it, and this is what we are asking you to do.
- Be Empathetic. People need to know that you feel their discomfort and fears.
- Be honest: This is what we know, and this is what we don’t know.
- Communicate often
- Let people know you are connected to other leaders and government officials. You aren’t game planning in a vacuum.
Please apply these practices to yourself and provide them for the people you lead, your friends, family, teams, and organizations.