Personal and professional growth through the unknown

By Bronson Elsley
1 March 2022

In what has been a challenging period, the importance of meaningful relationships, social interaction and sense of community has become a major talking point. With many of us now returning to a relative sense of normality, the resounding feeling is to put the worst of the pandemic impacts behind us and move on with our lives.

However, we must ask the questions:

  • What can we learn from our experience over the last 18-24 months?
  • How has this influenced us on a personal level and more broadly, organisational level?
  • How can this help shape a positive and sustained impact in the workplace?

With an immediate common talking point, our “professional relationships” moved into unfamiliar and previously unchartered territory. Formal attire was exchanged for casual comfort, new challenges from being ‘on mute’, to having poor Wi-Fi at home were contended with, and being interrupted by younger or furrier family members became common practice. As we start to emerge from recent lockdowns, it remains important that at a personal level, we take time to reflect upon these experiences; they serve as a reminder that despite our professional obligations, we remain commonly grounded in life’s various challenges both inside and outside the workplace.

Whether it be recognising that clients or colleagues have their own conflicting deadlines, family commitments, or are navigating personal challenges that we are not aware of; continuing to demonstrate our understanding and acceptance of this builds trust, loyalty, and a stronger sense of community and camaraderie within our professional circles.

At the organisational level, the need for clear, considerate, and tailored communication has also been highlighted during this period. Clients have sought consultation on an array of issues such as gaining access to government stimulus, while junior staff have looked to their senior colleagues to ensure they continue to develop whilst working remotely/in isolation.

The foundations of success in our roles as advisors for clients, and mentors with colleagues is fundamentally built on trust, and our awareness of this is critical in ensuring we deliver to a high standard in both domains. It is our consistent demonstration of competence that promotes confidence and in turn, builds this trust into our professional relationships. Over the last 18-24 months, offering alternative ways to hold meetings, housing client data/information securely, remaining alert for changes to relevant legislation and stimulus for clients became paramount in ensuring we demonstrated this competence. As we move forward into our respective post-lockdown settings, it is pertinent that as organisations, we recognise what we can learn from this.

Whether it be ensuring robustness of communication channels and IT security, being more receptive to staff who challenge the status quo in search of new efficiencies or continuing to schedule regular check-ins with clients and colleagues to allow them to voice their concerns; the lockdown period has shown that these interactions build trust, encourage effective change and allow those involved with our organisations to feel understood, supported and valued.