Speaking to leaders from a variety of industries, supporting our people through the pandemic is taking more time, effort, and energy than we might have been used to. A short desk-side morning conversation is now a longer, more detailed telephone or video call.

Leadership in business has multiple objectives – 1) to achieve a desired output, 2) to do the work we as individual leaders need to do to reach our goals and, 3) to serve our people. Often managing the people, you lead is the last thing on the to-do list, once our goals have been achieved. If I had a pound for every time a leader said to me ‘I can either get my work done, or I can engage my people’ I would be writing this from a Caribbean island rather than my home office!

Firstly, serving and supporting our people must become a higher priority and not just ‘the thing we do once we have got our other stuff done’. A lot of forward-thinking businesses are already adopting a People Leader model, whose sole responsibility is to manage people rather than looking at statistics and outputs. A more traditional leadership role then completes that work and the two exist alongside each other.

Secondly, as leaders, we must challenge our routines, processes and self-care patterns to ensure we are the best possible version of ourselves at key times. I recently spoke to a leader who said they scheduled team calls at the end of their day as they had other things to do initially to meet targets. By this time, they were feeling low on energy and not in the best place physically or mentally to have the conversations the team needed.

We must create a routine that puts us in a great place at key moments. A good starting point to understand our energy is knowing our Chronotype. We all have an in-built biological clock that keeps a different time to others. If you have ever heard someone say ‘I’m not a morning person’…this is part of the reason why.

To find out more about this, and learn how to work with your body, Michael Breus PhD has written a great book on the subject ‘The Power of When’. Click here to take the accompanying quiz to define your Chronotype.

Interestingly, when we put more time, effort and energy into engaging our people, we are more successful in completing our tasks and achieving our goals.

It is an exciting time as we have the opportunity to reshape and model our businesses but it means we have to throw away the shackles of what we knew and be as open as we can to new ways of working.