Leading During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Cornerstone CounsellingBlog Post

Sheila Stauffer (B.A., R.S.W.)

I was talking with a small business owner today and he confessed that over the last few weeks, he feels it has become harder and harder to make decisions. 

“I feel like there are shells going off in every direction,” he said. “I can’t process all the changes and I am worried that I am not making the right decisions.”

I appreciated my friend’s candor because I have been feeling the same way. Over the past three weeks, we have all faced daily announcements about new closures and restrictions that impact our businesses. As leaders, we are trying to determine how our business will be affected and what we can do to protect it and our people. I am sure that many of us can identify with my friend’s confession of feeling bombarded with issues and not being able to see a clear path back to stability.  

Let me assure you that it is ok to feel mentally strained as these are unprecedented times. I would suspect that every leader in the city has been impacted and we are all struggling to navigate these issues.

However, here are three suggestions that may help you and put your mind at ease:

  1. Take action to make the best decisions you can today based on the information that you have, but don’t be afraid to change your plan tomorrow. As leaders, none of us will get it 100% right when things are changing this fast. However, it is better to take action with a good plan than to take no action at all. If after tomorrow’s new announcement, you need to respond to new information, don’t judge yourself. Your ability to remain flexible may be your greatest strength right now.
  2. Be kind to yourself. Easier said than done I know, but it is still a worthy endeavor. Eat well, get enough sleep, and allow yourself some down time to walk the dog, watch the sunset, or call a friend.  
  3. Connect with the things or people who inspire you. This might mean listening to a great audio book or podcast or connecting virtually with a mentor. Be aware that your attitude and your mental health are valuable and vulnerable business assets. These assets need care and protection. 

Finally, I would like to add that it can be helpful to talk to a professional counsellor. This is especially true if you find you are having trouble sleeping, withdrawing from others, or feeling overwhelmed. There are many counsellors that are offering online video counselling sessions or phone sessions during this challenging time. A counsellor will listen to you without judgment and help you sort through difficult emotions. A counsellor can help you gain perspective, manage stress, and find more balance.

There is no need to do this alone. If you would like to learn more about the support you can receive at Cornerstone, please explore our website and social media pages. This is the time to support one another. 

Blog post by Sheila Stauffer, Executive Director