Forte Connect
Work/Life Effectiveness

Coping with COVID-19: Cindy Solomon Shares Tips on Leading Courageously

Coronavirus-related closings and postponements are changing the daily routines of people all around the world, many of whom have never worked from home before. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the disruptions and distractions, Forté’s latest Women Lead webinar will help you move forward and make progress.

In the live webinar, held on March 19, 2020, Cindy Solomon, a nationally recognized speaker, best-selling author, and founder of the Courageous Leadership Institute, shared practical advice on how to “keep the wheels on the wagon” as everything is changing. The webinar, Women Lead: Coping with COVID-19: How to Lead Courageously in Uncertain Times, is free to view on demand and full of helpful tips. We’ve highlighted a few key points below.

Feeling “courageous” may sound especially challenging during a pandemic, but Cindy said the first step is to focus on what we can control. She addressed three topic areas: Sanity, Relationships, and Productivity.

1. Sanity

Cindy had several suggestions on how to keep your head on straight: Reassure yourself and your team, establish a routine that you can stick with as long as necessary, set realistic boundaries, and connect with others. If you’re working from home and you have children there with you, you’re spending less time in front of your computer than you usually do. Cindy recommended setting clear boundaries with coworkers so they know the best ways and times to reach you.

She offered the example of adding a footer to your work email that includes specific times you’re most likely to be checking messages and lets colleagues know how to reach you at other times if it’s urgent. If you are home-schooling your kids during certain hours each day, note that in your footer so people know you’re unavailable then.

If you had a commute in the past, and you now have that time back, think about how you can get the most out of it. You might want to spend it with your kids—or for your own development.

Make time to connect with other people, or as Cindy put it, “Share the pain, the worry, and the laughter.” She shared a few funny photos and social media posts during the webinar, because a sense of humor helps us keep things in perspective. She also suggested finding a way to help others in your community, such as by making donations to people who need more help than you do.

2. Relationships

Even if we can’t spend time with people in person right now, Cindy sees opportunities for “building, maintaining, and deepening relationships.” Texting, instant messaging, and email are all valuable communications tools, but they won’t do much to strengthen your relationships. Instead, this is a great time to pick up the phone or use your favorite video chat app and have a real conversation.

Want to be seen as a leader? Cindy suggested reaching out to people before they need you. She said, “There’s magic in asking, ‘How can I help?’”

3. Productivity

If you’re new to working from home, be sure to structure your day in the way that makes the most sense for you. Cindy does her best work in the morning, so she plans her day around that. Look for ways to use your family’s daily rhythms to your advantage.

Having trouble staying focused? Try turning off all of your notifications—even the news.

Have a never-ending to-do list? Cindy said to ditch it completely. Instead, ask yourself each morning what three actions you can take that day that will give you the biggest return. Invest your time and energy in completing those three tasks.

Missing out on networking opportunities? She offered a reminder that networking can be done virtually, too. Update your LinkedIn profile and focus on building your influence online.

Want to stay on your boss’s radar when you’re not in the office? Try some proactive communication. As an example, she suggested sending a weekly status update to your boss to keep her informed on your progress and what you’ve learned.

During Cindy’s presentation, she shared this quote:

“Courage is not the absence of fear. It’s the ability to take action in spite of your fear.”

Take action — and remember that Forté will be here to support you. We’ve been working remotely for 19 years, and we’re not going anywhere. As Cindy said in closing, “We’ve got this.”

Learn more about Cindy at cindysolomon.com, follow her at @cindysolomon, and discover how courage can transform your organization at courageousleadershipinstitute.com.

 

 

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