At work, leaders feel a responsibility to inspire, support, and align their teams. If yours is one of many families spending lots of time at home together during the pandemic, you may find yourself needing those same leadership skills in your family relationships. If we tend to be in a CEO role at home, we may be noticing some connections between this leadership role and the one we have at work. Are there lessons we can carry between one role and another? How are you helping to lead in terms of empathy, inclusion, support and inspiration within your family?
I’d like to share a couple of the most helpful actions we have been taking at my house (I have a spouse and 3 kids) to support one another during this stressful time.
- Family meetings: These can be a great reset when individual family members are spinning in different directions. We begin with a check-in on feelings, giving each person the opportunity and responsibility, to share their feelings as best they can. At these meetings, we agree in advance that we won’t cross-talk, will listen attentively, and will not judge feelings. After the sharing, we often have some particular subjects to address. At the latest, we asked ourselves two questions that allowed us some hope and anticipation: a. When the stay at home order is eased, what do you want to do? (Who do you want to see? What appointments are you looking forward to?) and b. What do you want to do this summer given restrictions that may be in place. Out of these questions emerged dreams that were alive for each person, and ideas for new goals and things to look forward to. It allowed us to share a moment of reverence for one another, and to really experience what each person was feeling. The goals we set, whether as individuals or as a group, have been inspiring us ever since.
- Creating rhythms: This is a time when our usual rhythms and rituals—work, exercise class, friend dates, and regular groups and gatherings of almost all types—have been disrupted. We may not be getting up at the same time as before, or as the others in our house. For most of us, our lives feel very different, and lack the same consistency. Without it we can lose momentum and even get stuck. If the ultimate role of the CEO is to provide the right environment to keep employees feeling inspired and healthy, the family CEO has similar responsibilities, and rituals and rhythms can help. For us, family dinner is our biggest ritual, and we are still making that a priority. What kinds of rituals or rhythms are you maintaining in your house?
Note: If you are living through the pandemic with teens at home, you’re not alone. I am developing free content to support teens and their parents during this time. I will be posting these materials to my website in coming weeks. Stay tuned! I hope you and your families are staying safe and healthy.