13 weeks ago, I received the NHS vulnerable persons shielding letter, it was a bit of a shock as I am not elderly or infirm, I worked full time with an active lifestyle [well not as active as it should be!] and ran my own successful business supporting SME growth clients. But maybe I did really know I would be one of the chosen few and had ignored my own intuition?
Following the advice to the letter I have not left my house for 91 days, many people have said how awful this must be, how unlucky I am, but actually I do not see it like that… Yes, if I contracted the coronavirus I would most likely be one of those that end up in ITU, but I have been fortunate enough to have been given the NHS tip off and shield so I see myself as one of the lucky ones!
During the shielding period so far, I have learnt a lot about myself, others and the world. Like anything we face we should look to make the best of the situation in hand, get creative and solution focused, embrace those around you who want to help or need your help.
Having more time on my hands has enabled me to reflect on something I have wondered about for a while now which is; ‘are behaviours really more important than skills?”
My outcome is again in line my intuition and for most people, unsurprisingly, my non-scientific conclusion is that, behaviours, are more important than skills. Behaviours are powerful, they impact a person in so many ways. How we feel about something is impacted but others’ behaviours, what we think about someone or something is clouded by behaviours we see, how we react can be directly influence by witnessed behaviours.
During lockdown home schooling entrenched this outcome. Teaching maths was tough, nonetheless logical, (at the end of the I am a L&D professional). You can rub it out and start again with little negative effects, but the desire to learn and the willingness to be taught was a whole new ball game! My tolerance levels and dedication needed to rise to the occasion and directly impacted my son’s learning experience for certain. If I was not committed, focused and positive then his response was lackadaisical and detached.
We, as leaders and HR professionals need to place significant importance on our behaviours, how we present our thoughts, what actions we take and how we interact with our teams and clients.
Our actions and approach to valuing behaviours more than skill (or equal to skills if ‘more than’ feels too bigger step right now) can start small, think about the job descriptions published for new hires or used to evaluate employee performance; is it just a to-do list or does it evaluate the way in which the job is done? Are we recognising the effort employees are putting in, their dedication, especially in a period of change, as we are now or, do we thank them for the output and completion of a task? Subtle changes in our visible behaviours will empower our teams and encourage the increase of discretionary effort.
Covid-19 has hit hard in so many ways, take some positives from what has been and continues to be a cruel and unwieldy time. Thank those who have worked hard for you now and before lockdown, celebrate what you achieve each day however small and think big, look at your next steps, take the actions you need to take (with the support of trusted advisors), be bold and be yourself.
I will continue to shield until I am confident that the R rate is low & stable, I will continue to embrace the changes in front of me and I will continue to support anyone who is wanting to be a better leader for today and tomorrow.