Leading Through Change- Put Your Own Oxygen Mask First

“Self care is not selfish. You can’t serve from an empty vessel.” Eleanor Brownn.

Embedded in every change initiative is the intent to breathe new life into the organization―to revitalize ways of thinking, behaving and working. But as leaders we often find ourselves in the crosswinds of multiple changes, caught between a team choking on the pace of change and wheezing on our own change fatigue. To successfully lead through change the first step is to take care of ourselves. I know, you’re thinking that’s funny – I am subsisting on coffee and my kid’s fruit snacks right now. But it’s not funny- it’s actually very serious. According to the July 12, 2016 Harvard Gazette, data show that 36 percent of workers suffer from work-related stress that costs U.S. businesses $30 billion a year in lost workdays. That does not include all the employees filled with stress and anxiety who are still at work but not fully productive. So what can you do?  I suggest taking a page from the airlines. On every flight we are reminded that in case of emergency we should put on our own oxygen mask before attempting to help others. Change is bumpy. We can’t navigate it safely if we are passed out. This Leading Through Change Self Assessment can serve as your oxygen mask. Take the assessment. Then commit to LEAD through change:

Look/Listen. Reflect on your results. What are they telling you?  How is that impacting your effectiveness at work? At home?

Engage.  Share the results with someone that can help support you in making changes in your current routines.

Act. What one thing will you do differently so you can lead your team through this change?  What does that look like? What is your next step? What is your timeline?

Dedicate Yourself. Then go do it and stick with it. Encourage your team to take this assessment and share their goals and results.

It’s a lot easier to talk about transformation than to actually do it – whether it is for ourselves or for our business. The good news is if we look at what we have learned, make course corrections, and focus on continuous learning, we will have the fuel needed to make positive change over the long haul.

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