How Leaders and CEOs Can Keep Themselves and their Teams Healthy

Corbin Smith
KnowHow Team Member
Leadership, like countless other things, is impossible to master. Even the greatest leaders of our time are always looking for opportunities to learn and improve on their leadership skills - in fact, that's often what makes them such great leaders. Every situation requires unique action, tone, and energy in order to forge a path forward.

This pandemic has done just that: created a very unique situation that business leaders around the world have had to adapt to, and learn from. Those who understand that growing in leadership is a never-ending process have taken this opportunity to learn from what’s going on and lead their teams better during these trying times.

KnowHow was fortunate enough to have two individuals with decades of leadership experience unpack how you can better lead your team, and yourself, through tough times. Jeff McManus and Dennis McIntee are internationally-recognized authors and speakers who specialize in leadership development.

Here’s what our leadership experts had to say about leading during a pandemic, guiding yourself, and framing failure in a new light.

Signs That a Leader is Becoming Worn Out

COVID-19 has been tough on everyone in the workforce. It’s been especially trying for individuals in management and decision-making positions. These are unprecedented times we are living in, and there’s no guidebook on how to lead your team through a pandemic that essentially shuts down the economy.

As a result of this, it’s very common for leaders to become tired and burnt out. As a leader, it’s critical to be aware of the possible signs that you’re losing steam.
What are some of these warning signs?
  • Dreading coming into work
  • Exhaustion
  • Feeling disengaged
  • Lack of enthusiasm
  • Uninterested in daily work
As a leader, a great way to tell if your team is feeling worn out is by paying attention to their body language and how they are communicating. Understanding and addressing this will help create a sustainable work culture through difficult times. Dennis McIntee, president of Leadership Development Group, says that “The first step to creating culture is understanding language. Language defines culture. Once I understand language, or I can create new language, it really starts to define my culture”.
If, as a leader, you happen to be feeling any of those signs, or notice your team is starting to become reactive and low energy, it might be time to start looking for ways to rejuvenate yourself and your team.

How to Bring Your Team Together During Hard Times

Almost every work team has been pushed apart in some ways by this pandemic. It has forced many teams to adapt, start working from home, and become more distant than usual.

Even as restrictions start to loosen, and team members begin coming back into office, there will be plenty of changes and new guidelines to follow that individuals might be uneasy about. As leaders, what’s the best way to bring the team “together”, and help ease any nervousness about new guidelines?

As Dennis McIntee says, “During this time we have to over-communicate, just when you think you’re saying it enough, you aren’t saying it enough”. One of the best ways to make your team feel connected with each other, even while apart, is maintaining communication. No one enjoys being left in the dark. As a leader, constantly communicating what’s going on internally with all employees can promote a feeling of togetherness.

It’s equally important to continue to communicate the “why” of the company. Remind employees what the values and mission of the company are. Teams work better together when they are all working toward a common goal, and when that goal is clear and known.

Communicating the “why”, as leaders, can spark motivation where maybe it was lacking. Intentionally reaching out and maintaining relationships with employees can also spark a feeling of togetherness, and shows that you care. Jeff McManus, author of Turning Weeders into Leaders”, says “As a leader, you should be intentionally reaching out and checking on people if they’re not working. See how they’re doing, and keep them updated”.

Four Factors That Affect Your Stress as a Leader

It’s no secret that being a leader comes with numerous stressors. Understanding that there are ways to reduce that stress can help you become a more efficient, proactive, and energetic leader.
Using the AIRE technique is a great way to start learning how to deal with and reduce a lot of your daily stress.
  • Attitude”- Trying to control the events or the way a situation turns out can only create more stress. The one thing you can control is your attitude, and monitoring what that attitude becomes can reduce a lot of stress.
  • Inputs”- There are tons of outside factors that contribute to stress. For example, too much negative social media content or breaking news stories can create an emotional frenzy that increases stress during your day. Monitor those, and take them in small bursts.
  • Response”- As a leader, controlling how you respond to situations is vital. Responding negatively or not at all can cause stress to build up. Responding positively and professionally is key as a leader.
  • Effort”- Leadership boils down to the effort you put in. Being uninterested or unenthusiastic are not characteristics of a great leader, put the effort in and your employees will thank you.
Reducing personal stress is something a lot of leaders forget about because they have so much on their plate. Monitoring and paying attention to those four things can be really helpful for a leader who has lots of stress in their lives.

Determining who the Leaders are in Your Organization

Leaders need help. No leader is able to lead a team all by themselves, and effectively raising up and empowering new leaders gives you greater opportunity to work in your areas of strength! Being able to identify those in your organization that can help you lead can save you a lot of time and stress.
The top three things to look for in potential leaders are:
  • Engagement
  • Coachability
  • Character
Jeff McManus uses the expression, “I can give them the keys to the store so to speak, and not worry about it”, when he finds those individuals who best exemplify those qualities.

If you want to continue learning from our amazing leadership panelists, Dennis McIntee and Jeff McManus, check out the full webinar here!

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