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  • Writer's picturePriscilla Cruz

Urgent: We need you. We need you to stay healthy. We need you at your best. Please, take action.

In times of COVID-19, leadership and teamwork are crucial. Being a good team player is no longer a choice. The good news is that this can be done even when you don’t know your team players and you have never faced this opponent before. Here are 3 steps to becoming a greater leader and team player in our present context.

(Article written in March 22, 2020)

Teamwork is the collaborative effort of a group to achieve a common goal. Today, more than ever, we need to work as a team in order to reach our common goal (to flatten the curve).

Our routine is changing and the world we knew before COVID-19 will probably not be the same in the following months. The direction of human history is shifting, and this can be for the better. Yes, I’d like to see this as an opportunity that will bring us together to build a better, kinder world.

We are being called to collective contribution.

- We are all together in this and we need you to be part of the greater team.

In order to operate as an effective team, we must understand the relevance and impact of our individual actions, for the sake of the group. Physical distancing (aka social distancing) is the biggest action (health tool) we’re required to take today, and probably the hardest one.

As far as we cognitively understand this request, it is extremely hard to execute it because proximity is not only a habit but also a need. We humans are social beings. Changing habits is difficult. Research shows that most of our actions happen beyond our conscious awareness. If you’re not aware of your actions, how can you change your habits and follow this mandate?

You are being called to awaken.

I believe the greatest resource to help us follow the requests and “fight this war” together is to awaken collective consciousness to unify our forces in a shared understanding of the current social norms.

It all starts with self-awareness.

As defined by Daniel Goleman, self-awareness is the knowing of one’s internal states, preferences, resources, and intuitions. It happens to be the basis of emotional intelligence, which is the ability that’s most consistently associated with the emergence of leadership.

Here are 3 steps to awaken your own leadership and help you bring your best self to contribute with your valuable individual actions:

1.- Lead yourself and become a good team player in your community.

It all starts with a simple action of love and kindness: follow the guidelines of Public Health Agencies.

  • Be aware of yourself. Understand how your actions contribute to the synergy of the collective. Own your personal responsibility and help others keep their own. Your individual contribution is as important as the one of researchers, doctors, governments and institutions.

  • Use your self-awareness superpowers to become aware of your own actions and resources, and then, change your habits. What if this was a sign to slow down, stop and reconnect with yourself? – I urge you to search within and bring your best out. We need you, healthy and at your best.

  • Stop the cycle of fear and negativity. Great leaders find the best solutions and clarity is key. A negative mind can’t focus. Yes, we are living in a complex world that arises lots of emotions and it’s common to feel what you’re feeling. However, being in a state of negativity does not help. We have the gift of free will. Use it, along with your emotional intelligence skills to choose how you want feel and what you center your attention on.

  • Use mindfulness to focus on the opportunities. Change your thoughts and be creative. You can also change your attitude whenever you notice yourself falling into the negativity cycle. Remember to treat yourself with kindness and compassion throughout this process.

  • Be courageous. Be love. Be happiness. Be part of the solution. Think of ways to contribute with your kindness and your talents. What can you do to help us all be safe and healthy? What can you do to help your loved ones, your co-workers, your neighbors, your community?

2.- Lead your team, support them and create psychological safety.

If you happen to lead a team or collaborate within a team at work, show your best self and give some kindness and love to foster connection.

  • Encourage them to follow the guidelines of Public Health Agencies.

  • Support them by asking powerful questions and showing you care about them. Ask how you may be of help… you’ll be surprised about how this simple action helps create connection and improve interpersonal relationships.

  • Create psychological safety so your team members feel safe to be vulnerable in front of each other. If you have been navigating through a roller coaster of emotions, most likely other team members are as well. Allow the space to communicate in ways that will help them feel secure.

  • Check-in with your colleagues out of work hours – especially those who live alone. Some people find a lot of meaning in their work and they may be going through difficult times in moments of isolation.

3.- Be part of the greater team.

Google’s research on successful teams shows that psychological safety is the number one element that helps people engage in behaviors that create effective teamwork.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, we need to work as a team to achieve our common goal and flatten the curve.

  • Become a good team player. Stop criticism. Focus on what you can take care of and not so much on what you expect others to do.

  • Take greater care of yourself. Eat well, sleep well, exercise. Keep your mind busy and informed. You may also want to develop creativity and curiosity to change the narrative and cultivate resilience.

  • Create a safe space for those around you. Both physically and virtually. Be at your best to foster psychological safety. And if you find that navigating through this context is too difficult for you, ask for professional help.

  • This is also an excellent occasion to take some time and reconnect with people you have lost contact with. Take advantage of technology to create a sense of emotional proximity (not physical!) with those you care for.

  • Extend help and kindness even to folks you don’t know. Remember, we’re all together in this. We all are a big team even if we don’t know each other…yet.

We need to act as an effective team for the best interest of ourselves, our families, friends, coworkers, neighbors, community, society, country and the world. Your world. Our world.

Be kinder. Love more. Live simply. You are not alone.

We are together and we will navigate through this. With your efforts, we will flatten the curve, we will change human history for the good of all!

Remember “The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.”

- What are the actions you can take today to bring your best self to the world?

Yes, we need you. We need you to stay healthy. We need you at your best.

I don’t know if you’ve read this to the end and if you did, thank you. Thank you for being here and for being interested on learning more about how to become a better leader and a greater team player when we need you the most. Here is an offer. . . I'm hosting a 15-minute mindfulness webinar next Wednesday, March 25th at 12:05pm ET / 9:05am PT. Email if you'd like the login details. It's a chance to rest, reflect and regroup.

About the Author

Priscilla Cruz is a Leadership trainer, certified PMP project management professional, with a bachelor’s degree in Architecture and a Master Practitioner in Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) certification. She is the first Certified Teacher of the Search Inside Yourself (SIY) program in Quebec. Priscilla has been practicing Mindfulness for 15+ years.

She works with senior executives, managers and HR professionals to help them keep employees aligned with strategic organizational goals while supporting talent development and growth in fast changing work environments.

If there's anything I can do to be of service to you or your team during this challenging time . . . reach out to set up a free, 20-minute exploratory conversation.

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