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Leading in Full View

In the last few days filled with uncertainty, I've also had unexpected moments of joy as I’ve seen my colleagues’ children, their kitchen counters and their dogs and cats during the normal course of the workday. We’ve all had a window into the home lives of others on every video call. We’ve heard babies crying, children playing, and seen kids just desperate to find out what mom and dad really do every day.

I’ve long been a believer in Living Your Authentic Self and Living Out Loud. The line between work and home has been blurring and we all want more of OneLife where work and home become more intertwined.  However, the past few days have truly accelerated that shift.

Employers across every industry and sector are putting the health and wellbeing of their people first. At the same time, family commitments are also front and center and the way work gets done has had to shift to accommodate kids out of school and the elderly needing more support. We are increasingly living OneLife at ONE time.  

Now is the time where the traditional definition of leadership will be challenged. Leaders are not just leading people in service of the business, leaders now are leading people in service of people.

Leaders need to be the example, to show your whole self, your whole life and encourage others to do the same. Now we truly see each other in life.  We recognize families and understand both the strains and joys of a whole life.  

I ask all my leadership team to remove those camera blockers and turn their videos on, let’s SEE each other in the fluidity of our day. Let people know that we’re all in this together. Have conversations with colleagues and clients about their family lives even if you never have before. Acknowledge that there is an air of anxiety as our home life and communities face increasing disruption and we trust people to get work done around their commitments.

There’s no doubt that the next few weeks will be tough, yet looking ahead I predict the shift we’re seeing now will create a positive ripple effect long into the future. That work life blend will become the norm and presenteeism, where the measure of success is who we see versus their work output, will rapidly become a thing of the past.

From the manufacturing floor to the office cube - work schedules will be redefined and employees are much more than who they are at work. Who we are in total defines us – all of us is much better than part of us in any scenario.

Take a moment and see the change. Don’t worry when the dogs bark on the conference call or the baby cries – it's part of your life, it’s part of your peers’ lives, your leaders’ lives, your employees’ lives. Embrace it – don't hide it, mute it or apologize for it.  I believe we can emerge better on the other side of this situation, if we enable people to find new ways of getting work done and if we set the example by living and leading out loud.