When dealing with a crisis in the ‘here and now’ it is often easy to lose sight of the future; to feel stuck in the moment and not be able to see a positive outcome. In these moments, it is easy to fall into feelings of hopelessness and depression, which in turn can decrease engagement, motivation and performance. During challenging circumstances, it is important for us to maintain a spirit of hope. Hopeful employees are more resilient, agile and better able to navigate obstacles.
Inspiring hope within your team does not mean making empty promises that everything will be fine. It is about reminding them that even though we may not know exactly when and how, this will end, and at some point, things will get better. This hope, coupled with the assurance that they will receive help and support along the way, invites your team to participate in the creation of a better future. Crafting specific steps that the team can take will help them manage stress and anxiety and build hopefulness.
Focusing on hope and the knowledge that things will get better in the future will only get you halfway to emotional wellbeing; you will still need something to help you cope with current realities. For this, you will need your anchor, or true north - the main thing that keeps you and your team aligned with what is truly important, what your real purpose and mission are right now. For some, the Mediclinic purpose to enhance the quality of life may be sufficient. Others may require something more tangible that speaks to the ‘right here’ and ‘right now’.
Many of our children have already learned the lesson from Frozen’s character Anna, when she chooses to ‘do the next right thing” to find her purpose when hope seems lost. Here are the lyrics we can all learn from:
I won't look too far ahead
It's too much for me to take
But break it down to this next breath
This next step
This next choice is one that I can make
So I'll walk through this night
Stumbling blindly toward the light
And do the next right thing
And with the dawn, what comes then?
When it's clear that everything will never be the same again
Then I'll make the choice
To hear that voice
And do the next right thing
Sometimes your anchor may also be to decide to bravely take the next step into the darkness, to do the next right thing; whether this is washing your hands, putting on a mask, treating a sick patient, connecting to a Zoom meeting, supporting a colleague or team member who is going through a difficult time, comforting your crying child or just responding to an email.
Reflect for a moment on how you can help your team envision a better future and identify their current true north. Then, help your team craft the steps to get there, starting with what is the next right step for today, then for tomorrow, the week, month, and quarter. These small steps, anchored in our values, can help us find the hope needed to weather this storm, and build our resilience to withstand future storms.