Empathy and Social Skills in the period of self-isolation and crisis

April 1, 2020


Currently, the world is facing a difficult situation: countries are closing their borders; increased numbers of people in each country work from home; businesses in many areas are experiencing serious financial difficulties, - air transportation, tourism, restaurant business are hugely affected.


A crisis is always a screeching halt. We can defy it only by maintaining our desire to move forward and through the firm belief that the crisis will end one day and we’ll again need to make decisions and undertake new steps. 


It is always useful to remember that when one opportunity shuts down, several new ones get open. Currently, such opportunities are online consultations and online business management. This may sound strange and unusual, but it is worth recalling that PayPal and Amazon are entirely online ventures. 



Is everything as bad as it looks?


We have gotten used to our routine, to the fact that everything goes as it should. This is how we have perceived the things in Europe until February this year. The coronavirus crisis has intervened and introduced drastic corrections in our seemingly perfect lifestyles.  It's time now to ask the question: how effective is our way of life? Let’s look at some assumptions we have always considered to be the key points of successful business communication.


It seems to us that only by communicating face-to-face, we really perceive and understand a person we are talking to. When we switch to phone or video communication, we feel that something essential gets missing in our dialogue. But is it really so? It is true that in offline conversation, a person feels more relaxed. On the contrary, online conversation requires extra concentration and awareness. 


Shaking hands is widely perceived as a guarantor of the transaction and a sign of trust. In fact, a handshake has long ago lost any other meaning than the one of a purely symbolic gesture. It does not guarantee absolutely anything. On the contrary, the absence of handshakes may help to develop confidence in people and the world as a whole.



A good moment to create a “new me”...


This is a good moment to start working with our own beliefs, expand our horizons, and increase the level of trust. Do you really believe that face-to-face meeting is always the best option available? Just think about it: one offline meeting takes about 2-3 hours, including the time you need to reach the meeting place. An online meeting takes one hour, which makes it possible to hold 2-3 meetings instead of one. Approached from this perspective, won’t you admit that online communication provides an opportunity to broaden and scale up the business? 


Let’s make simple calculations as an example: a person who traveled 3 hours a day for work reasons (meetings etc.) now saves 60 hours a month. Which is one and a half weeks of work that could be used to create value for the company. If we calculate further 3 hours a day means 720 hours a year, which is 90 working days that are used for travel purposes only. Add to this how much time you spend to get to work and back home. And you will get a figure stolen from your off-work life. 


Realism is the realization that we need to consider various possible scenarios. In a relatively stable and financially secure situation of recent years, critical thinking and elaboration of various scenarios were shifted into the background. Now is the due time to “rescue” our critical thinking ability and take action.


Every crisis is a new point of development. Those who can quickly navigate will be afloat. Restaurants are one of the business spheres which seems to be greatly affected by the spread of the virus. It is possible to imagine that some restaurants' owners may need to start thinking about changing the field of their activities. Why not? After all, if a person has managed to become a leader in the restaurant business, they will be able to establish themselves in another area as well. Try to imagine a theatre: a play changes but actors remain, and, perhaps, they will perform even better in their next play!


In the conditions of crisis, changes are inevitable. Such a situation requires the rethinking of all the interactions (employer-employee, boss-subordinate, relationships within the family). Blaming the government, UFOs and other forces is not an option. Such qualities as the ability to take responsibility for oneself and one's fate, the ability to negotiate and convince, self-confidence, and assertiveness come to the fore.


The current lockdown and confinement measures press us to face our problems and look for their solutions as well as for the new ways of building up business and personal relationships. In the conditions of quarantine and home confinement we are no longer able to find excuses and run away from the potential problems in our relationships with our loved ones. In a way, many of us are facing a new and somewhat paradoxical situation: for once we work predominantly online while meeting members of our close family in real time and on a permanent basis. Inevitably, such a situation invites us to resolve those problems that have been growing around us and demand imminent solutions.



New type of solidarity


Crises are cyclical, although they have different forms and manifest themselves in different ways (war, global financial crisis, stock market crash, epidemic, etc.). Despite everything, mankind has already gained extended experience in overcoming them. Even now, in the midst of the unfolding crisis, we can observe how, despite the closed borders, the whole world has rallied in the fight against the virus - China, Cuba and Russia send medical help to Italy, while Switzerland and Germany are treating French patients. The world continues to move and interact, but in a different, unusual form for us: somewhere you can notice the suspension, somewhere the slowdown, and somewhere the online boom.



At Gross Leadership, we continue our training in a format of online meetings. The goal of our training sessions is to emphasise the opportunities where it seems to be none. We help you to learn trusting yourself and other people, rethinking leadership qualities and talents and taking them to a new level.


We are here for you at this time of uncertainty. If you like to learn more about our offers and training programs, you may contact Anna and arrange a preliminary online consultation. 


Share this article with those who may benefit from reading it!


Would you like to share with us your experience of teleworking and balancing your work-family time in the conditions of home confinement?

“All the world’s a stage,

And all the men and women merely players…”


(W. Shakespeare, As You Like It)


We believe that each and every one of us is not only a leading actor but first and foremost a writer of our own destiny. Overwhelmed by life events, we may unintentionally forget that we are the sole playwrights of our own lives. We may even unwittingly drop or lose the thread of our unfolding life story. Then, we start questioning ourselves and let others do the writing for us. Doesn’t this happen to all of us occasionally? The best thing we can do is to resume the leadership as soon as we can: only we should write the play of our life!  


With the renewed confidence and new skills, we design new perspectives. Coaching and training are the best instruments we use to achieve this goal.







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