A virus is resilient in nature. COVID-19’s impact is pretty evident of that. The way this pandemic scourged around the world was previously unheard of. The impact was such that it changed the whole context of how businesses and livelihood work. The leaders tried to hide behind the facade of ‘Looking good, being right and being in control’ and hid their faces too.
Amidst this, an important question to the leaders arise - How do we bounce back from this?
In their session at the PM L&D SEA Conference 2021, Lori Hofmann, Director of people engagement at Expedia Group and Michael Godfrey, Global Head of Learning and Development at Expedia Inc, answered this question through their case study ‘Individual and Leader Resiliency’.
They implied that ‘Gratitude’ can unlock a leader’s resilience and enable them to win and rejuvenate their businesses. They developed it to understand and share how leaders can be resilient in this current climate.
Finding leaders who already have a lot of skills in their skill-set
Lori observed in her study that during COVID19, a leader’s understanding of the context of their businesses had a massive impact. This led to changes in the mindset and a sense of insecurity among the leadership peers.
Michael addressed this by emphasizing the need to “find the leaders especially at the executive level, who have a lot of tools in their toolkit”. It implies that they need to rely on their skill sets developed through experience.
Focus on clarity and creating the deposits of resilience through gratitude
An interactive workshop was conducted to assess the leaders. Using the data in Maslow’s hierarchy, they stated that building trust with the individuals, especially psychological safety would lead to a place of healthier conflicts. This in turn, would encourage shared commitment and produce better accountability and really good results. ‘Focus on gratitude’ is the key element which would enable the leaders to access the deposits of resilience in themselves as well as that of their employees.
Building psychological safety through trust map
The individuals were told to select three leaders and place them according to the level of trust they had on them. This exercise led them to realise the importance of gratitude to establish the psychological safety among them. This exercise of ‘Trust Map’ was more impactful considering the leaders started empathizing with each other and started looking for the collective resolutions.
Ikebana : a Japanese concept of flower arrangements
The leaders were also introduced with the idea of Ikebana - a Japanese concept of flower arrangements, where the idea of ‘space within space’ was talked about. The leaders need to understand that 70% of the learning would come at the job and it is at that space where they can develop their resilience.
Key takeaways from this study :
- Leaders were loving the idea of learning from each other
- They started empathizing with one another and aimed for solutions
- They have started to realise the importance of asking for help
- They notice the small details about employees
- The importance of gratitude
The most important note for the leaders is that gratitude has to become the crux of all the businesses. Leaders need to initiate giving time to employees and each other to reflect on what all things they were grateful for. A grateful nature will lead to insights that would help them to become a winning business and most importantly, develop their inner resilience.