Keeping it real and connecting to the core of things

Posted by Ben Whittacker-Cook on 26/08/2021 10:00:00 AM

Time to unleash your leadership skills in the face of uncertainty? A fantastically insightful and encouraging blog packed with good advice from Icehouse Coach Kim Hill.

Maori Leaders

I wanted to send you all some kia kaha vibes, virtual hugs and reassurance that we are in this crazy space together!

So – here we go again, same old show again… I’m sure there’s a song...

But it is of course different this time because, apart from the variant, we do know what to do (sort of) and it’s not such alien territory. We are better equipped – we have a toolbox this time whereas last time we had to build it from scratch.

It may also be different at home, too. You might have found yourself in a different bubble from last time and it may demand different strategies and structures. We know that, particularly for younger whanau, the uncertainty around COVID is unsettling at best and what affects one affects all. In lockdown the ripple effect tends to be intensified and it’s tiring walking on eggshells. We need to put our whanau first. No question. In practice, when we’re trying to work and our kids need us it can create tension that leads to outbursts that don’t help the situation even if they release frustration. How do we react with grace without seething with resentment?

I’ve landed on my lockdown mantra (well, it’s a word) and it’s – wait for it – PAUSE. Take those deep breaths, ring a friend, walk away (I’m a power walker). Do something healthy. Respecting our own limits is an act of kindness to everybody.

This latest outbreak will continue to evolve. There’s nothing like lockdown to remind us of our lack of control over change. And that’s bigger for some of us than for others. If you’re someone who has all your steps planned out in advance, then lockdown can be particularly unnerving.

But we know that last lockdown brought out amazing resilience, innovation and strength in us. We’re entrepreneurs, guys and that means pivoting is part of the package. It comes with the territory. We can embrace change.

I count myself so lucky to be working with emerging leaders as well as entrepreneurs. It’s made me reflect on what makes a good leader in times like these. What makes a good leader stand out? Here are three of the things I’ve come up with:

1) Communicate. It’s number one. This puts your staff at ease because they know you are all in this together. So check in regularly with each person in your team. Someone I know works with the traffic light system. She asks her staff to identify whether they feel they’re at green – good to go, amber – feeling a bit wobbly, or red – they’re grinding to a halt. 

And communicate with customers, too, with the focus not on getting sales but on reassuring them that you are thinking about them. Keep connected. Which leads neatly into number 2…

2) Recognise your limitations – reach out if you need a sounding board. It’s a game-changer as well as a no-brainer. “She’ll be right” isn’t going to be likely to cut it.

3) Check your position. Keep (or get) your finger on the pulse of your financials. It’s best practice. What do you need to maintain your break-even position? What are your outgoings for staff, wages, rent, etc.? How many weeks have you got to maintain this if no income is coming in?

And try to get at least one good laugh in a day. Chris Hipkins inadvertently reminded us of the therapeutic value of that! 

For information on Kim, head to Stratigi.

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Topics: Business Coaching, Leadership, Kim Hill, Business Resilience, Coaching & Advisory, Communications, Level 4 Lockdown