This article is focused on YOU as a self-examination as we all emerge from the COVID-19 shutdown. There have been many articles, blogs and pod casts about how and what the new world of work, recreation, travel and economics will be like. Some go as far as to prescribe what you need to do to be effective. In my opinion the future is so uncertain that prescriptive solutions are at best a wild guess. What really is at the core message is to focus on you and your frame of reference when you are re-engaging with the world around you and leading into tomorrow.
I have two areas for you to intellectually process before you overreact to many of the business and people situations you will be facing. These two areas are a core subject in my book “The Four Pillars of Employable Talent.” Please think of these two areas as fundamental to your external approach to work.
The first one is Balance. Are you in Balance with you at this time? You cannot be open and effective if you are off center and feel out of control. We all have different profiles, but control is a primary factor. When we feel that we are not in control we react at worst in a fight or flight manner. When partially out of balance we become demanding and coercive or non-cooperative. All behaviors that are not desirable. Why? Because most of us, including myself, are out of balance and have felt restricted beyond our comfort level. Examine this factor by asking and talking with others who know you well. Get their opinion and/or the opinion of a coach or counselor.
The second factor is Resilience. This also is a key segment in my book, “The Four Pillars of Employable Talent.” Resilience is all about critical thinking and alternatives to what we originally thought would be a path forward. Today I find it amazing how many varied opinions are being expressed on so many different subjects. Maybe it is driven by the fact that we are searching for meaning and not fully listening to various opinions. Instead we become judgmental. The subjects being discussed are extremely important to our future successes or failures, such as do the Counties open up the schools in the fall as 1= regular classes 2= no in classroom students or 3= a hybrid model? While I am not suggesting a solution, this issue, like politics and religion, are causing extensive discourse amongst employers, employees, families, government/school boards and teachers and others. Examining “unintended consequences” is missing from most of the dialogue. Unfortunately we are not having “balanced” discussions, but more emotive rhetoric as if one option is clearly better than the others.
All of this will be and is present at work. How you help bring people together with all their personal fears and become focused on moving the organization forward is the path all of us must focus on. In a leader/manager/supervisor or employee role, you are the only person you can control. Work on your Balance and your Resilience and communicate in such a manner that those around you will seek conversation to move forward! 2020 will be remembered for a long time, so make a contribution by focusing on “you” through these uncharted times.
Raising Future Talent: It All Starts Here
During the last few months I have had an opportunity to catch up on reading and research. A long term colleague Dennis E Coates, PhD has been continuing his research and consulting in an area that is tangential to my focus on Leadership skills and the ability to Coach and develop these skills to a higher level with accomplished individuals. Many of my current client participants and Leaders we have coached over the last ten years often share a comment with me that goes something like this; David I wish you could instill these traits, goals, focus and critical thinking with my son or daughter. This question, and others like it, have focused me on the subject going back to my research on attributes of leaders in the Four Pillars of Employable Talent.
So in simplistic terms, what potentially creates those who emerge into leaders later in life and how and where do these skills come into play? In talking recently with Dennis he suggested I read his book “How Your Teen Can Grow a Smarter Brain”. What a discovery of answers! While I have been focusing on the adult leaders and their potential, Dennis and multiple others have been focusing on adolescence and how parents, family, teachers and others can help grow the brain to a higher level of performance. While there is no easy path, he and other researchers have studied and documented preteen through college for how they learn, and develop critical thinking skills. I suggest that if you are a parent, grandparent or have friends with young adults, you read his book. The one thing that is discouraging but is a reality of development, if you miss the growth years you will never be able to make up the total lost opportunities to develop intellectually. Yes you can add knowledge and information, but certain unused brain cells close down and cannot redevelop. A must read if you care about child/adolescent development. Failure to Launch is a common outcome to underdeveloped activities during adolescence. Please reach out if I can be of further support.
Dr. Dennis Coates
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