For many leaders, facilitating change during the 5th wave of a pandemic is the tip of the iceberg. The exhaustion of dealing with a continuously changing context, polarized teams and communities, and the surfacing of longstanding systemic challenges and inequities mean many leaders are running on empty.

In times like these, when the “storm” we are facing is greater than our inner and outer resources, and the storm itself is continuously changing, the best plans become irrelevant. In fact, the only thing we can plan for is that things will keep changing. In this context, I believe the most important action we can take to counteract running on empty is to focus our efforts on building a culture of belonging—from the inside out.

As leaders, when we take the time to tend to our own belonging, our health and wellness improves. As a result, we are able to support our teams and communities more effectively. In the process, we also model the pathway for creating lasting change.

So how do you as a leader build belonging from the inside out?

5 Strategies to restore your leadership mojo:

Runing on Empty - Find Your Leadership Mojo Again

#1: Shelter your mind.

Recognize that keeping up to date on what is happening in our communities and world is important. However, vicarious trauma from information overload can be debilitating and erode our sense of safety in the world—a key component of having a sense of belonging. Consider what you need to know in this particular moment and time. Then choose your focus. Sheltering your mind, of course, takes discipline and commitment as our brains are hardwired to watch out for danger in an effort to keep us safe.

#2: Find your sense of agency.

In the midst of public health orders to slow the spread of Covid-19, for some people it can feel like being in forced isolation. And we all know the impact of isolation over the long-term. It can really help to think creatively by making a list of what you need to do to keep safe and all the things you can still do. Focusing on what you can do and doing that can be energizing.

#3: Explore what home means to you.

When we explore what a sense of home means to us, it can be like a compass pointing us directly to our values and what will sustain us through this storm. When we do this, we begin to belong more fully to ourselves, each other and the world.

#4: Build supportive peer relationships.

Not only are they running on empty, many leaders are also feeling isolated. Finding and building a cohort of peers to share challenges, generate  solutions and celebrate successes is a key factor that enables leaders to thrive during times of disruption and change.

#5: Contribute your unique gifts.

There are two big reasons for considering how you want to contribute to our particular threshold in time. First, the best way to get through something difficult is to help others. Second, one of the causes of burnout is not being able to make an impact. If you can help others through contributing your time and unique talents, you will be meeting a fundamental human need.
When we begin to belong more fully to ourselves, others and the world around us, we tap into an endless source of energy that provides a sense of rootedness for ourselves, connectedness with others and a compass for our actions. We know bottom-up and top-down solutions have their limitations. I invite you to try a fresh approach to facilitating change—building belonging from the inside out.

Belonging Matters Conversations For Leaders

Join with other leaders and experience building belonging from the inside out as a leader facilitating change.

Belonging Matters Conversations For Leaders
  • Mentors: don’t forget these important people, no matter how long ago they played that part in your life. Many of them have taken the opportunity to retire or re-jig their lives. Even if they have no answers, they will listen, understand and support you.

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    About the Author

    Jessie Sutherland

    An international speaker, trainer, and consultant, Jessie Sutherland works with organizations and communities to engage diversity, build belonging and ignite intercultural collaboration. Her approach creates sustainable community change that effectively addresses a wide range of complex social problems.

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