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Dear Servant Leader, It’s “OK” to not feel like leading.

You may be reading this and wondering why I would make such a statement in this pandemic time of need. OR, you may be that servant leader thinking you are glad someone understand. Either way let’s talk about being a servant leader during this time of panic.

As a whole, we look to our leaders when there is a crisis. We want them to tell us what to do, lay out a plan of attack and hold us together. We forget they are people too. We forget the leaders need our support. Our ability to stay focused and follow the lead.

From My Youth

I remember when I was a half-timer in high school. We performed at half-time of home basketball games. We were good. We practiced each day and depended on the captain of the group to lead us when it was time to perform. We all knew the music and the cues of the dance but each time before entering the gym we watched for the leader to take us through. We each were nervous and went through our own anticipation. But we didn’t think about the leader being even more nervous than us. We just knew if the leader missed a beat, we would be off for a moment until someone else stepped up. I am happy to say we didn’t have a problem during live performances. But life off the court isn’t always this way.

Breakdown, Breakthrough, and Buildup (3B’s)

In life, leaders should be allowed a moment of shutdown. A moment to sit still and get in touch with their own emotions, thoughts and analyze reality. There may be a time in this moment where emotions shutdown and reflections run deep. It is OK. Because this is normally when the breakthrough happens. It is what happens after the emotional cleansing. This process helps define a good leader.

With the COVID-19 pandemic that is sweeping the world, leaders are having to handle an increase of stress. Life changing decisions are being made at a moment notice. This is happening on every level of leadership.

As a leader operating in the domestic violence arena, you are being pressed to keep your clients safe with a limited access. I know during panic times I just want to do it myself and get the job done. Then I remember the ultimate decision and actions must come from the client. So, it is OK for you to stop leading for a moment and analyze what is happening.

When you take a moment, breath, meditate or pray it is easier to see the path you must take. What are your ways of coping? Don’t let them fall by the wayside. There is still someone out there waiting on you to lead. 

Tips to Assist the 3B’s
  • Build a safety plan with clients. This may be a revision of one already in place or a new one just for shut in time.
  • Set boundaries for communication. If not an emergency, describe what that looks like. It may be email or text as opposed to phone. You need to limit your time in the middle of crisis.
  • Call your local resources and determine how they are operating during he pandemic. Look at services you offer and reanalyze as needed.
  • Have alternate plan in place for 1:1 conversation. In place of accompaniment you may be able to arrange a video chat with hospital. Speak to your hospital staff. This is not an ideal situation but can be a safety measure.
  • Journaling is record keeping of your emotions and well-being. By doing this daily you are keeping the thoughts focused and clear. It will help you track mood swings and be one of the first signs of falling prey to vicarious trauma.

As stated at the beginning, it is OK to be a leader that doesn’t feel like leading. However, it is not OK to stay there. Take the time to breakdown but keep moving forward. Move through to the buildup. Share below safety tips you are using.

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