As a young boy I remember on more than one occasion waking up in the middle of the night to hear my Mom and Dad talking in their room. Specifically, I remember the conversation being one with soft voices accompanied by the sounds of my Mom crying through her words. 

At the time my Mom was an ER nurse working the evening shift. She had a way of understanding that each patient was different and came in with their own personal story which contained circumstances unique to them. My Mom cared about each patient and their families and saw to it that they not only received the best medical care, but the best emotional care as well.

 That strength could make it hard on her when they lost a patient or when a patient came in with such a condition that their life would be significantly altered for an undetermined amount of time. It was on those nights where she would sit and open up to my Dad. 

As I grew older, I realized that my Mom’s emotions were shared by many first responders and medical personnel. 

Fear, concern, anxiety, empathy, helplessness, and uncertainty.

There is a major war being fought that many of us will never see (God-Willing) nor be able to fully grasp the enormity of the task at hand for our medical personnel during this pandemic. They are literally on the front-line helping these people fight for their lives… often putting their health, safety and personal well-being at risk. 

They understand what the situation is to the best of their ability. They know what it is they need to do, and they simply do the best they can with what they have.

They direct their focus where it needs to be, on the action and not the emotion. 

As my friend Dana Cavalea, former Strength, Conditioning, and Performance Coach of the NY Yankees said in my interview with him earlier this week, “when we get too emotional, we forget what to do in the moment.” 

So as a leader how are you handling all the emotions you and your team are dealing with individually and collectively? 

I was reading a piece put out by Gallup the other day and it reiterated the four universal needs people look for from their leader….

  • Trust
  • Compassion
  • Stability
  • Hope

Are you fulfilling those needs daily? Here are five steps you can take while leading your team:

  1. Take the first few seconds of every conversation to connect on an emotional level
  2. Acknowledge and respect their worry
  3. Actively define reality and clearly communicate the risks and opportunities which are present in your current situation as this will spark the rallying effect when you show them the way forward
  4. Let go of what could have been
  5. Celebrate every victory no matter how big or how seemingly small

One of the things I keep reminding my clients is to have grace with themselves as leaders. You may not get it right at first as we are navigating un-chartered waters. Continue to focus on your process. When things do not go well, pause before you look for a quick fix and commit to doubling down on your process, pay attention to the fundamentals, be conscious of the five steps I listed above, and be consistent.

This was originally published as a weekly newsletter from Ed Molitor, with The Molitor Group. If you’d like to receive the weekly newsletter, follow this link to subscribe.