Many of you will remember that the reason we created our leadership model, The Leader in You, was because a CEO of a large organization said to Linda, “I’d be a great leader if it weren’t for those damn people!” We remind you of this because it’s important as a leader to understand that people are messy.

We are all messy, every one of us.
And under the current circumstances,
we are messier than ever.

With the current level of fear and all of the unknowns, it’s hard for our brains to focus, learn, retain, and change. Threat closes down our ability to invite and inspire people to move forward effectively.

What this means for you in your leadership is that you’ll be more powerful if you can paint the picture of what you’re trying to create in a way that feels both possible and compelling to the people you’re leading.

As we’ve been dealing with the spread of COVID-19, the language used to define how we, as a nation, need to respond has evolved from quarantine to isolating oneself to social distancing. And while social distancing paints the picture of what we need to do behaviorally, it does so in a way that evokes a sense of foreboding isolation.

Recently, in a conversation with a colleague who has been working in pandemic planning for many of the last years, he suggested that we use the phrase “social safety.” We think about it like this:

Social Safety paints a more accurate
and compelling picture—one in which
we don’t have to do this alone.

Using social safety, we can connect by phone and through virtual face-to-face platforms with the people who matter to us while staying safe both individually and as a community.

This week, as you’re talking with your teams, your family, and your friends, we’d like to encourage you to use the language of social safety. We need everyone to do their part to slow the pace of this virus, and social safety is going to be important for weeks and months to come.

Reminding people that they can continue to be social if they connect with people in ways that are socially safe is an act of leadership.

If you’d like to read some additional posts we’ve done to support people during this current pandemic, click here.

In the video below, Linda and Heather discuss this post and the importance of social safety.