As we move into 2021 with gusto, having come out of the disruptions of the past year, it is important to acknowledge that the world has changed. The way we manage and view the different realms of our lives has changed as well. And the way we work and lead has also changed.

2020 was one of those years in our lives that challenged each of us out of our comfort zones and made us step up to all that we were confronted with. We have gone from a space of emergency and crisis management, to then working to balance our lives and work, to having to dig deep to find that inner endurance and grit to power through.  To then reaching the point of where we find ourselves today, in a space of recovery.

And as a we make our way further down the road from emergency to driving revival, taking our hope and our learnings along with us, our immediate discovery has been that it isn’t as easy as we had imagined. And the space of recovery is actually laden with its own set of hurdles that we need to overcome.

While there is a sense of “normalcy” at the surface, right beneath is a series of emotions, some turmoil or nagging fundamental questions that we now need to answer. And while the decision-making has moved from government to institution to the individual, Covid still remains an imminent reality and vaccination a few months away for a lot of us. And as we re-orient ourselves for this return, we are now confronted with the added pressure of a quick back to normal of doing MORE with less and dialing up the delivery timeline from what took 90 days to now 90 Minutes

And how prepared do we find ourselves for this onslaught? 

As a leadership and performance coach, I see a number of clients feeling challenged and a bit spent at this point in our pandemic journey. They had rejoiced as life was gradually moving back to the way it was pre-Covid, but didn’t quite anticipate the return to be as hard. 

Yes, reopening can be harder than shutting down!

The space of emergency usually brings with it a sense of rush or a commonality of purpose that drives our survival instincts as we stay committed in our endeavor to get to the other side. When this emergency wears off we are then left with a bunch of mixed sentiments, a plethora of unresolved emotions and a sense of mundanity or inconsequentiality of daily life.

During the crisis, remember, we have also learned a lot about the people in our lives and work. We know who supported us, who powered through, who was a major support, who stayed silent, who got overwhelmed and who left us. And we are different as a result of it.

For a number of leaders and organizations, they have found that there has been a fundamental reset in their teams emotional operating systems during this time. And while again at the surface the structure remains the same, the informal team dynamics have changed.   And there is now a lot of work to be done to realign and recalibrate as they look to channelize all these dynamics into productive action.

So, if we think about the space of recovery as an inflection point, rather than a U-turn, and replace the term RETURN with RENEW,   what 3 STEPS can leaders and teams take as they look to move towards a smoother recovery:

1. EVALUATE: The space of renewal then encourages us to hone into that beginner’s mind to start getting curious about the world as it stands and proactively reflect on our learnings from the past year. It allows us to do an honest evaluation of what served us, what we can let go of or let be, and what we would like to take forward during 2021.Remember, the comfort of what you know may not always be in sync with what you most need.

2. BALANCE: As we move into recovery, realigning the expectation of execution, strategic thinking and innovation, to the emotional landscape of teams is crucial. The boundaries between what constitutes personal and professional have been blurred all through 2020 and it is incumbent on leaders to get comfortable with acknowledging and managing emotions in themselves, as well as their teams. Being able to successfully balance the emotion and the action will be a key step to recovery.

3. BUILD: In this journey of moving from crisis to recovery to renewal it has become imperative for leaders to engage with more adaptive, emotionally intelligent and inclusive solutions as they look to reset in a new reality. It has become essential that they focus on building an emotional skills for business toolkit in themselves and others, as they look to balance the evolving team dynamics, innovate, motivate, evaluate and recalibrate, while continuing to align their teams to thrive in a new world of work.

So, take a moment in this phase of the journey to carefully think about what you need to do to re-evaluate,  re-align and recalibrate as you look to reorient to a RENEWED YOU!


  • Shubika Bilkha

    Leadership Coach. Entrepreneur. Author. Partner


    Shubika is a dynamic leadership and performance coach who has worked with a number of professionals, CXOs and senior level executives across corporates, industries and educational institutions. She is the Founding Partner of EdpowerU that specializes in working with millennial and GenZ managers and leaders on their workplace behaviour and personal leadership development. She has an ideal combination of corporate experience, having worked with large companies such as Deloitte in Corporate Finance in London, provided advisory services to a number of small and medium sized businesses, as well as been the Managing Director of two early-stage start-ups in technology and education. Shubika is a published author and a prominent media spokesperson who contributes regularly to key publications, portals, radio and television channels in India on HR, leadership, behavior and education related topics. Shubika is an alumna of Mount Holyoke College, USA and Columbia Business School, USA; a certified Executive Coach from the International Coaching Federation (ICF) Accredited CTI, London, and has completed a certification in Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) from the Massachusetts General Hospital, Department of Psychiatry, USA. She is also currently a Co-Chair of the Women’s Initiative at the WIC Indo-American Chamber of Commerce (IACC). She is an Associate Member of the Chartered Securities Institute (CSI) in the UK; and has completed the “Building Excellence in Higher Educational Institutions” at the Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad.