I want to talk about how to self lead in the office. We are returning to working in offices but there are many people who are anxious and we all need to take responsibility for our safety and that of others Listen to the SuperStar Communicator podcast
I have discussed about leaders and managers and what you need to do and the conversations that you need to have with your team or your employees to make them feel comfortable. Because when we feel comfortable when we feel safe, we work far better. The cortisol is not pumping around our bodies, making us anxious. If we are more relaxed, we are going to perform far better. And I want this for you. I want this for your employees, and I want it for everybody that we work more efficiently.
But part of this is about us taking responsibility as individuals and experiencing and exhibiting self-leadership. What can we do to make others feel safe, but what can we do to feel safe ourselves and make other people safe? Now me at the weekend I saw images of an acquaintance of mine celebrating her divorce. And the photographs were with her in a train with masks round her chin and her friends have masks around their chins.
Now, certainly in the United Kingdom, one of the things that we are meant to do when we are on public transport is wear masks. When I saw those images, it immediately made me feel quite anxious. Because if I had been in that carriage, there was a possibility that I could have caught COVID from her or she might have caught COVID from somebody else because of the lack of social distancing. And adhering to the current thoughts about COVID.
Now if I use an example as a contrast, I am in an amateur orchestra. If we meet up the instrumentalists, the wind instruments must have put something on the end of their instrument to try and stop any virus in the air going elsewhere that somebody could catch the virus, and the string players, myself included must wear a mask the whole time. And what is more, we must be two metres from anybody else. And the windows and the doors must be opened the entire time to circulate the air to make it safe. And what is more, there are only 30 minutes sessions before everybody must leave this space, it must be air rated again, before there can be the second half of rehearsal. That is all the compliance that has been recommended for instrumentalists. Yet we have got people that are going on trains in closed spaces, all close together, not wearing masks, which is worrying.
And even on Friday, there were pictures of hundreds of Scottish fans in London, obviously enjoying the night celebrating. But there was no social distance there, which is worrying, it makes me feel anxious. Why am I saying this because, the actions of us all could cause other people to be in danger!
And certainly, with returning to the office, we must take a personal responsibility for adhering to rules to that other people feel safe. How to self lead in the office, so we are role models. So, thinking about a few things inside, it might be that we share things in the kitchen, making coffee or something like that, it might be that you see somebody else’s coffee mug, and thing, oh, I cannot remember where mine is, or I cannot be bothered to go and get mine and grab somebody else’s. Well, we need to take personal responsibility for that. And just use our own equipment. Likewise, are the utensils, borrowing pens, using uncleaned keyboards, and that can make us feel anxious cannot it, we think oh my goodness, this has been out I do not know who has been on it before. And then people get paranoid cleaning the keyboard all the time, we have got to make sure that we only use our own things there. But also getting too close. Particularly if you are not wearing a mask.
And I do appreciate that for two reasons, wearing masks can be a bit of a challenge. Very occasionally, there are people that feel anxious wearing a mask. And I do appreciate that. Also, for people who are hard of hearing, it can be very, very difficult for them to lip read with other people and it might be worthwhile. If you are hard of hearing, if you could ask the manager if everybody could have a clear mask so that lips can be seen, so you can lip read. But if you are bending over other people getting too close breathing over them, particularly if you have not got a mask on, it could make other people feel anxious. But we could self lead in the office by starting a conversation about this.
Also, some people are hugging, and you know, that is wonderful because we have been separate for so long. It might be that the other person feels uncomfortable, having physical, touching other people. Even if you have had two jabs already, we have got to be aware that what our norms are might not be acceptable to other people. So individually, you might want to make it clear to everybody else. I do not want people going too close to me. Or much as I love you, I do not want to have any hugs.
Perhaps it is that as employees, you ask if it is possible that there is a survey or for everybody to perhaps wear a wristband or something like that that just can indicate the type of physical presence that you want. I know that some organizations are doing this that there are red, yellow, blue wristbands that they wear that so that people can easily identify whether individuals are happy for you to go up close. Whether you need to stand your distance, whether you can hug in fact to begin people will want to do that.
How you can self lead in the office is in the communal areas and things that we as individuals should also take responsibility for, for example, in reception, there is going to be gel and if it is near to running out, or if it has run out, rather than moaning about it, find out who you need to alert so that they can go and get some more. Likewise, the lavatories and the bathrooms, if things like that run out, instead of moaning about it, or if you catch COVID, deciding that you are going to sue the company, which I think is low, and I do not recommend it, see who you can go and tell so that there can be a replacement there.
Now, if you are a leader, what you could do is make sure that these things are very clear. Perhaps you could work out a way that there are a system where other people know how much physical presence and how close to people individuals want to be. And then the end, you must create that environment where everybody’s opinions and their thoughts on this are respected. Because we’re all individuals, we’re going to have our own map of the world, what might be comfortable for us might not be comfortable for other people, we might not know that an individual, for whatever reason, is unable to have jabs because of their immune system. Or they might be shielding people in the home, who are unable to have jabs who or who are vulnerable to disease. And we must respect the fact that they are wanting to put their own things in place to make sure that everything is safe.
But I am a firm believer in having two-way conversations and opening the opportunity to be able to discuss this with others. Without other people feeling that they can laugh at you. So, a few things here for you to think about, really, is that we need to take responsibility for our own actions. And to respect the fact that other people might not want you to be close to them. And for them to have the right to voice this opinion.