Safely Uncertain – The journey starts here

“The fearless organisation is one in which interpersonal fear is minimised so that the team and organisational performance can be maximised ….It is not one devoid of anxiety about the future” – Amy Edmonson, The Fearless Organisation 2019

Last week I turned off the Apple news feed on my phone. No longer did I have the opportunity to feel both enraged at the narcissistic rants of certain world leaders or outraged at the lack of PPE for frontline NHS staff. As a parent of two daughters, one isolated in London on furlough from a charity and one about to start work as a dietician in the NHS, I  still feel concern for their safety – albeit they are both robustly healthy and in good spirits (I think it was the free Disney channel).

On a video coaching call yesterday, I was struck by the guilt of a young working Mum as she tried to balance the needs of home schooling with the demands to be available for dial-in meetings. Talking to our 80 plus year old neighbours (with multiple heart bypasses between them) out for their walk before going out shopping, I wondered if they had received their letters about their three-month lock-down? They said that they were more at risk if they had to stay indoors without a break from each other than they were going outside!

There does seem to be an outpouring of support on channels such as Linked In; albeit with some questionable (to me at any rate) posts such as: “Has COVID-19 hit your sales channels? Join us on 22nd April for our exclusive LinkedIn Masterclass”. I think I get the intent to support those of us who are freelance; perhaps a little more empathy and compassion in the messaging please?

We have a new norm that is outside any of our existing frames of reference. We are living and working with massive levels of uncertainty that impacts on ourselves and those we hold dear. There will be a time to reflect and review lessons learned; at present the challenge is to find our own route to (psychological) safety as leaders. We can impact on others through our own fear or we can aspire to be that change that helps other to feel safe.

Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

Andrew Porter