Three key skills for leaders in lock-down: Relearn, Empathize and Reflect.

To build trust and confidence with your team during this period.

On 6th of May 2020, Confederation of Indian Industries and Arogya World jointly organised a webinar on Mental Well-being In the New Normal.

The focus of the webinar was to start thinking about how to take care of ourselves, our organisations and our teams, as we emerge from lockdown. The most important thing that all of us have realised is that this is not going to be one off event, and we will have to be prepared for pandemics like COVID19 in the future, The New Normal.

Interested in employee well-being?

I had the privilege for moderating the panel with esteemed panelists - Mr.Sarthak Ranade (Managing Director – Janssen India, The Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson) Dr. Kowshik Kupatira (CMO, Toyota Kirloskar Motor Pvt.Ltd.) Dr. Ramadevi Gourineni (Managing Director, Amara Hospital)

Mr Ranade focused on the importance of mental health, and the need for focusing on this important issue. He highlighted the burden of mental health in India, emphasizing the number of people who are affected, 197 million. He also alerted to the surge in mental health issues, upto 20 rise as per survey by Indian Psychiatry Society.

"We suddenly moved from being a high touch society to low touch society and hence we are going through very different set of emotions. This also has changed the way all of us work and live. We need to step back and keep in mind that everyone doesn’t adjust to the situation equally. As leaders we need to be cognizant of this as leaders".

Dr Kupatira stressed upon the level of anxiety that is now evident in employees. He emphasized the need to look for and identify signs of mental distress in our teams. He focused on the importance of building routines and sticking to them. As an organisation, Toyota is using the 3R framework - Reset, Relearn and Rejuvenate. The most important focus he said was to let the teams know that "we are here for you".

The next topic of discussion was impact of the lock-down on each one of the panelists, individually as leaders. All panelists shared how they had to step up, take a step back and they had to demonstrate empathetic leadership at this point. The panelists also refocused on the importance of routines and what key roles that plays in their own well-being.

Dr Rama stressed upon the importance of sleep, with lines between work and personal space blurring. People end up working longer hours. "One advantage we all have is our tight family systems, this is the time to benefit from it. Talk to elders, listen to their stories and build those bonds". She also emphasized the importance of adequate sleep, and shared tips on engage in relaxing activities, shutting down blue screens and having bed time routines.

The panelists shared some key practices they are going to adopt as we are all emerging from the lock-down
- Be connected
- Be empathetic
- Build routines
- Be agile in your planning
- Strengthen employee assistance program
- Lear n how to work more efficiently in the new normal, remotely and in person

We ended with a great interaction with the attendees. Key messages from the panelists

Mr Ranade - Epidemics dont last long, but the learnings from the epidemics will last very long, so its important for us to relearn everything.
Dr Kupatira - Focus on conveying to your organisation that we are here for you
Dr Rama - Deeply introspect and focus on what is really important to all of us

Panelists also discussed ways in which industry can collaborate to build and continue the focus on mental well-being. Few ideas discussed were leveraging CII and Arogya world as a platform to bring various organisations together to learn from each other and share best practices. It could also translate as being part of the Health Workplaces Program of Arogya World.

You can watch the full episode below