The past few weeks have been distressing with the growing number of covid cases in the country. I have been wondering about the beliefs and mindsets that drive people towards covid inappropriate behaviour. Do note, I am not here in anyways looking at judging others, as every individual has his/her own beliefs that they act upon. They attend the ‘Mahakumbh’ or political rallies or party with close friends with blind trust around religion, culture, and friends. Why do people take those chances despite being aware, that the virus often is picked up from people that we trust and might impact people who are closest to us?

What makes us act the way we do?

Answers fit into three broad themes: Positive outlook, confidence in Self, and the ability to taking Risks. In normal circumstances, these traits would be a winner any day. But it has totally reversed in the face of a pandemic. In my view, a situational perspective is the key deciding factor that one needs to choose, to exhibit these behaviors, and in turn showcase ‘Situational Leadership’.

I had a remarkably interesting discussion with Salley Helgesen a few weeks back. Sally is a global thought leader with three decades of research around people and behaviors. She has co-authored a recent bestseller ‘How Women Rise’ with Marshall Goldsmith. We discussed Resilience, Potential, and Inclusion and how may the new future of work look like? You can catch the full interview here.

It was exciting to hear her look at this pandemic as an opportunity with the possibility of building a new reality around work and the workforce. She genuinely believed that this will be a major turning point for women to get better assimilated into the workforce. She had hoped around global sustainability with less migration, and people staying in home countries, and being local but working globally. She also talked about ‘Success’ in terms of contribution and not in terms of achievement. I thought this was powerful because ‘contribution’ encompasses a larger purpose around collaboration and a common vision that ‘we are in it together’. You can attend her Masterclass on 19th May to get to know more about her views, and tools to thrive in the new future of work.

I was recently having another conversation with a coachee who was cruising the pandemic at the workplace but deep down not happy. His guiding values were accountability for action coupled with empathy. He was a perfect worker with deadlines, workloads always being met along managing to work with co-workers who were not exactly supportive of him and his work. But he was ambitious and was willing to wait for months/years to get the business head role that he always dreamt of, and he was sure that he was on the right path. As part of the coaching process, I always ask my coachees to revisit their goals and plan for sustainability. Imagine my surprise when he revised his goal and qualified his ambition to not lead a business but a social impact venture. He suddenly had all answers for his unhappiness and was willing to risk a charted career for an unknown. When I asked him what triggered the change, he said he realised that he thrived in uncertainty, unlike others who were struggling. He also realised his potential could be used to doing creative actioning for people and communities that he cared, and that gave him happiness and purpose. His enthusiasm to embrace uncertainty gave me the hope that every situation has an outcome. It being positive or negative is in our hands. At the end of the pandemic, each of us needs to ask ourselves, and which Sally very nicely put; “Are we ok being comfortable with somewhat uncomfortable, and how are we shaping it?