Leading Our Family Through Crisis
April 6, 2020
As a parent, we are called to lead our family through crisis right now. Some of us feel more comfortable with that, than others.
The great thing is, leadership skills can be learned, quickly and “on the job”. We will step up and learn these skills because we have to.
There’s a very British saying I love, “Mothers are like tea bags. You never know how strong they are until you put them in hot water.”
Like a mother who lifts a car to rescue her child trapped underneath, we find our strength when our children really need us to. We also are more open to new ways of doing things. Necessity is the mother of invention – we find ways to grow and manage things differently. We start to focus and prioritise like a boss.
We can also look to other areas in our life where we have leadership experience. We might already be leading in our workplace, as a mid-level or senior manager. Or we might find that we are stepping up to provide leadership within our team, without even having that requirement as a formal part of our role.
You may remember from your “pre-parenting life”, since you were a small child, examples of when you stepped up to lead, even in a small way. We all know how to do it, even if we are the type of person who prefers to follow and implement, rather than “be a leader”.
Right now during the Covid-19 crisis, you might have noticed your inner “Brown Owl” rising to help your family and friends, or the wider community. That might be by providing a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on for friends, by sending funny memes and taping cheery rainbows in your windows, or by volunteering to bring milk and eggs to your self-isolating neighbours, or just checking in on them. That’s already 4 amazing skills:
– Deep listening, holding space = being the Comforter
– Uplifting, providing respite from worry = being the Cheerleader
– Practical support = being the Implementer
– Keeping people linked to others so nobody gets left behind or feels lonely = being the Connector
There are other roles, like the Champion (e.g. those who post online petitions asking for more financial support for key workers, those who organise the Thursday evening #ClapforCarers, etc) and the Coach (who help others to see their own inner strengths, help them get clear on their priorities and challenges, and help them get themselves organised to achieve their goals).
We all have the capability to do ALL of these roles. We’re more experienced at some roles, and we prefer some over others. But we are ABLE to do all of them, when we need to, especially with a bit of guidance and practice to learn the skills.
Which roles are you already good at? Which have you been doing already in response to this crisis? Which do you want to step up to do well next, to help your family through this year?
Here’s to your successfully leading your family through this difficult time. I know you can do it.
Best wishes, stay safe,