5 methods to get by means of the disaster like a baby – visitor blogger Teri Goudie
We were all once a child and now it may be time to act like a child again.
This wise advice is not an exclusive thought. It comes from Fred Rogers, the same television personality who once advised us to look for helpers in times of crisis. If you look for the helpers, you will find hope. If you think and act like a child, you will find a cure.
It is interesting that this year, like no other, three things make a difference: openness, practicability and friendliness. Children are born open. You are not stained by the tendency of experience. They are usually very practical because they can usually choose between two or three simple options. Would you like to read a book or play with your dolls? Children are incredibly nice too. They long for love and give it back in abundance. You know that love is the simple syrup of safety and joy.
Since my customers around the world are working to survive and hopefully succeed in the COVID era again, I try to use Mr. Rogers in the guidance I give. Thinking and acting like a child is not restrictive or immature. It's actually pretty liberating.
Here are 5 ways to think and act like a child as we strive to run our organizations, protect our employees, and treat each other with respect and dignity:
1. Convert your limitations into activities that focus on listening.
Children listen better than most others unless an ice cream van vies down the street for attention. In stressful times, it is best to listen with our ears and hearts and to be sure that our questions are as important as our answers. A zoom meeting encourages listening because the camera keeps your focus.
2. Search for the light and use it to open new windows.
I have seen children walk with their families to turn tree branches into dinosaur fossils and nature hunts into vocabulary lessons. Every company should now think about the three most important rays of light in their world and use them to arouse the imagination and commitment of their employees. Identify the light, your unique strengths and base your actions and your words on the harmony and power of the "three".
3. Forgive and forget.
When people are in a crisis, they tend to blame other people's actions as a starting point for their fear. Are you angry with the people who are celebrating in the bars in Florida or with the colleague who is late with his report? Children get angry for about a minute and then it's gone. Precede emotions and use communication to involve people in solving your collective future. Ask for ideas and anticipate concerns through transparent communication.
4. Use the picture to suppress the fear of the unknown.
Children trust pictures because they learn to see before they learn to speak. When you do FaceTime with a child, they smile because they can see and hear their grandparents. Managers can do the same. Use video conferencing generously, not just phone calls. Paint verbal pictures of the top three things you are already doing to get the company back on its feet. We tend to want the things we can see, even if they are changes.
5. Smile and laugh together.
Science proves something we have already suspected: laughter is therapeutic and humor can be an important business tool. Our children may not read the headlines, but they know that there is tension at home. Nevertheless, they continue to wake up with a smile and look up at the sky dozens of times a day. The same can be achieved in corporate culture. Your master narrative for the crisis must be serious, but can be delivered with certainty and optimism. Try smiling on the phone. Now try to share some humor about the craziness of your own home. Focus not only on your recovery plan, but also on your strategies for happiness.
Hope through crisis
My older children remember 9-11. They remember the empty sky and the fear that their father will tell the story for ABC News at Ground Zero. They remember school closures and terrible stories of what might come next. However, they also remember family dinners and easy walks around the block. They remember a country coming together to rebuild and restore. They remember that the sun rose just as brightly every morning and people finally went back to work with a new goal.
These memories help them to survive this time of pandemic and great unrest. Together we can do the same for this next generation.
How can these children's lessons help you lead even better?
– Teri Goudie
Teri Goudie is a former ABC News journalist. She is currently a communications trainer and founder of Goudie Media Services and The Headliners. She has helped companies overcome some of the most dramatic crises in the past three decades and knows that the crisis often shows us that we are stronger than we think. Follow Teri on Twitter @ TeriGoudie.
To help executives and communicators guide and communicate with COVID-19 employees, we have developed a resource page with tips and strategies that we update regularly. Click below to get the resources: