Two minute read.
How do you feel about returning to your physical places of work with the majority of your colleagues?
Excited? Desperate? Worried? Or perhaps even a little anxious?
I’ve been facilitating a lot of leadership team ‘offsites’ over the past few weeks and this has been a major topic of conversation. We’ve discussed at length how they feel about returning to their offices and how to support those they lead to return… when the time is right, of course.
There are some individuals who are desperate to be physically together with their colleagues… and there are others who are quite happy with the new status-quo.
And there seems to be a large ‘push me, pull me’ majority who are totally torn.
Many of these individuals are struggling to make sense of their own thoughts and feelings because on the one hand they want and need that real, human contact with their colleagues.
And on the other hand, they are anxious about returning for a host of reasons.
It could be because they dread the long commute, they are worried about childcare and not seeing their kids as much, they dread being in the presence of a particular toxic colleague or they are still very anxious about the virus.
Or it could be a host of other reasons that neither you nor I have even considered.
The conversations I’ve had over the past few months lead me to suspect that this ‘push me, pull me’ group is quite large. And whilst the feelings are very real and very human, they are also difficult to understand for those of us experiencing them, and for leaders trying to support our people.
There has never been a one-size-fits-all approach to leadership, and this has never been truer than it is right now. There is no cookie-cutter leadership model that we can readily deploy to make sense of what is going on for each and every one of the people we lead. And there is no off-the-shelf framework that we can use to guide our organisation through the journey of returning to our physical workplaces.
But we can start talking to our people about it in groups and in our one-to-ones with them.
And through these conversations we’ll better understand what’s going on for them. They’ll feel supported and we’ll be better placed to make sound leadership decisions about the way ahead.