Leadership Lesson – February 2022: Words of Advice from Leaders on the Front Lines

January 28, 2022

This month’s leadership lesson is from Carolyn Kazdan, Aim Lead of community coalitions and nursing homes.

 “February is the border between winter and spring.” – Terri Guillemets

leadership lesson image - feb 2022

 Spring is often a time of new energy and hope as we put the cold dreariness of winter behind us. Yet, as we enter the third spring of the pandemic, we find ourselves or those around us languishing. Languishing is a concept that organizational psychologist Adam Grant wrote about last year in a New York Times article that remains relevant as we continue to lead teams struggling with the emotional long-haul of the pandemic and with our collective grieving the loss of normalcy.

Grant recommends several strategies for re-finding flow and forging a path out of the void.

  • Give yourself some uninterrupted time which means setting boundaries. Uninterrupted time can significantly improve productivity, increasing our ability to find joy and motivation from experiencing a sense of progress. Grant shares that constantly being on email is one factor that leads us to change tasks an average of every ten minutes, resulting in “time confetti.” While it can be difficult in our current environment to set boundaries, try your own quality improvement Plan-Do-Study-Act cycles to manage your calendar. Think about small tests of change and schedule one block of time, one day of the week to start.
  • Focus on a small goal. To transcend languishing, try starting with small wins by carving out daily time to focus on a challenge that matters to you—an interesting project, a worthwhile goal, a meaningful conversation. Spending time with someone who you can have a positive impact on can reconnect you to your purpose.

For a deeper dive into the concept of languishing and re-finding your flow, visit Adam Grant’s TED talk, How To Stop Languishing and Start Finding Flow, or the New York Times article, “There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s Called Languishing.”