May 28, 2020
As we continue to move through the ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we have come to a critical point – when and how to pivot to yet another new normal. This virus has taken away much of what we used to control. But, according to Peter Rea, Ph.D., vice president of integrity and ethics at Parker Hannifin, we absolutely maintain control of what may be most important of all – how we lead in this crisis and how we deploy an important human anti-viral weapon – compassion.
With that in mind, we invited Peter Rea to speak with our team. He shared three themes to consider as we lead ourselves and our organizations through this crisis and toward a new normal:
- People can take on loads of stress when they have loads of support. Employees’ safety and wellbeing quickly became priority #1 during this pandemic, requiring a heightened need for both emotional and physical support. It has been impressive to see how employees, including the Dix & Eaton team, have rapidly adapted to the work-from-home environment and the new ways we are being asked to support our teams. These efforts and additional resources are acts of compassion designed to alleviate stress and keep some control over the situation.
- We can’t fold under pressure even when we are scared or exhausted. The desire to be less visible or quiet when there is so much uncertainty is understandable, yet it’s the most important time for leaders to stay out front. Airbnb’s CEO Brian Chesky summed it up nicely when he said he feels like the captain of a ship that just got hit by a torpedo. Yet, he’s promised to keep moving and navigating his people through the storm, knowing he has to make tough and unpopular decisions. The quality of the relationships he has built – and is building – will help to support him as he manages through a scary time to get to resiliency.
- One of the best predictors of resiliency is the quality of our relationships. While writing this post, I reflected on difficult times in my own life from the death of my first love at age 23, to managing through difficult health issues and pushing myself out of my comfort zone. In each of these instances, the common themes present were gratitude in the midst of pain, heightened fear to the point of crying but still moving forward, all while relying on trusted relationships to persevere through every single day. And in my reflection, I realized that it was compassion that led to resiliency – getting my life back on track and being better for having lived through it.
So as we all look to navigate our path to the new normal, it’s good to know that we can bring courage, trust and compassion to those close to us and to those we know are suffering. And years down the road, here’s to hoping we can say we came out stronger as individuals, organizations and communities.
Thank you to Peter Rea for his words of wisdom that inspired our team and hopefully will help many of you. If you’d like to hear more from Peter Rea, check out his book, Exception to the Rule. In the meantime, stay well and move forward.