Supporting business leaders, so that they can show up for others
This time of COVID-19 has brought into even more stark relief the existing disparities in the United States and throughout the world. There is increased precarity related to employment, health outcomes and access to health care, food security, fair treatment by law enforcement, and housing. Communities of color, elders, incarcerated people, those who have health conditions, disabled people, transgender people, unhoused individuals, and others with marginalized identities are disproportionally impacted. Even for those who are not facing outsized impact from this pandemic, there are still innumerable strains that can deeply impact well-being, much less job engagement and productivity. Any attempts to locate a “new normal” can seem futile, as the contours of our personal lives and how we work continue to morph.
Within this context, many inclusive leaders are asking themselves new questions:
- What does it mean to expect strong performance of your employees, during a time when many employees are caretaking while also carrying a full-time work load?
- How do you maintain a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion when contemplating reduction in workforce or furloughs?
- What does supporting employees look like for managers of essential workers?
- How can you communicate a compelling business vision when the future is so uncertain?
This time of hardship and uncertainty calls for leaders to show up for their employees, customers, and broader communities in new ways. Today, effective leaders—especially those who lead diverse workforces—should come from a place of authenticity and compassion. Human connection has never been as important as it is now. In order to demonstrate their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and navigate many of the difficult conversations and decisions that this moment demands, leaders must engage reflexively with their own identities, discomfort, fear, and vulnerability. One-on-one leadership coaching is one of the most potent strategies leaders can utilize to build their competencies in these areas.
Paradigm Leadership Coaching was developed in response to a widespread need surfaced by many of our clients, who asked us questions such as: “how can we support our senior leadership in championing DEI efforts?” We know that senior leaders, as well as people managers, vary widely in their DEI journeys and competencies with managing in the midst of change. Some need support communicating their personal commitment to DEI from an authentic place. Many feel shame or fear when topics such as race or gender come up, and this inhibits their ability to act or speak up appropriately. The implications of these leadership gaps can be significant. When leaders fail to connect personally to DEI, when they don’t adequately account for DEI in their business and workforce-related strategies, or when they fail to clearly communicate rationale behind people-related decisions, there are far-reaching effects on employee morale, success of change initiatives, and organizational culture.
With their Paradigm Leadership Coach, leaders can benefit from a confidential and safe environment to ask questions, identify their own strengths and growth areas, access resources, and practice new skills. Paradigm Leadership Coaches serve as guides and support for leaders, providing structure, goals, and reflective practices to galvanize and sustain the leader’s learning journey.
May 18, 2020