KEY TAKE OUTS
Focus on developing personal connections. Whether that’s inside your company or outside of it, Ellison’s advice to everyone is to “reach out, make those personal connections wherever and whenever you can.” For Anyaegbuna, it’s about leaning into the online space, sending messages to people and following others; engaging with groups where possible. Keane cautions against always using the word mentor however, when turning to a person for advice. Her advice is to just ask someone for a coffee, albeit virtually because, “people always want to help,” she says.
Work to regain your confidence. For Keane, the national lockdown challenged her abilities as a leader, leading her to suffer from a crisis of confidence. What became essential is that Keane adapted, and did so at speed. So, she set about figuring out, “how do you ensure everyone has a voice in a team meeting?” Ellison’s confidence, she realised, came from being in the same room as the people she was engaging with. Without that, she revealed that as “a performer” she struggled. Now she builds connections before going into the ‘room’, to spend time with people outside of the meeting and build a deeper connection.
Use this period as a time of discovery. Keane continually emphasises the importance of openness and vulnerability when it comes to being a leader, particularly during times like these. Because it is through authenticity that we develop empathy and, she explains, “to be authentic as a leader, you have to show vulnerability and you have to admit that you’ve struggled...because nobody is perfect.” Anyaegbuna wants people to see this period as “a time of discovery”. This time is making people uncomfortable and in turn these leads to openness and honesty, vital qualities for working during the ongoing crisis.
The importance of setting boundaries. Keane says that, “it is within all of us, not just leaders and managers, but all of us as peers, as co-workers to ensure that we are setting boundaries at work, not just for ourselves but for each other and holding each other accountable.” What it comes down to is respect, for your own time and for other people’s. The importance of making time for yourself is not to be underestimated Anyaegbuna says, emphasising that, “if you put too much pressure on yourself, you will not function fully.” If you give employees the space to prioritise their mental wellbeing, you’ll get the best from them.
Remember your worth. Each leader offered their advice on finding, building and maintaining your confidence, answering questions from the audience that ranged from how to navigate the virtual working world as an introvert to how best to approach finding new work. For Keane, she wants people to, “remember your worth,” and to “say yes to everything even if you don’t know how to do it.” Anyaegbuna’s parting advice is an important piece to remember as we reach the end of a long and difficult year: “It’s OK to not be OK some of the time.” While Ellison encourages everyone to be open and honest with the people around them and to ask for their help. “If you understand what value you bring to a conversation then that should give you a sense of confidence,” she adds.
To read a full write up of the event, visit the dedicated BITE page, Finding, building and maintaining your confidence in a virtual working world