Survival of the Fittest Nurtured

Richard Citrin Ph.D., MBA
Richard Citrin Ph.D., MBA

I’ve been very optimistic, over these past 10 months, about how our resilience will carry us through the adversities of the pandemic, the racial justice and equity movement, and our recent election. Now that we’re “through” 2020, many have thought that things will automatically get better.

That may not, automatically, be the case.

I expect that the economy will zoom back to life, probably in the second and certainly the 3rd quarter as we create a “community immunity” (we’re not cattle, so let’s not call ourselves a herd!) but our own recovery from the challenges we’ve faced may not be so fast.
Research tells us that when we are in the face of the stress, we do a good job of handling it. We step up to the challenge, find ways to support each other, and use our resilience to match up with and overcome that difficulty. However, there is a price to pay for that and it typically comes after the stress is over and our bodies (and minds) need some recovery times. From a resilience point of view, this translates to what I refer to as “bounce back” time, when we just need a break to heal.

The psychologist, Louis Cozolino has written that our brain’s need for social connection helps us to heal and grow when we are supported and nurtured. Sure, Darwin was right that the fittest survive, but by nurturing others (and ourselves) we do more than survive, we thrive.
Business leaders and line managers were appropriately supportive during the early stages of the Pandemic in modifying workplace routines and expectations. There was even much noted about helping address the mental health needs of employees. It would be great if that kind of compassionate and understanding leadership continues as we move forward in the workplace (and world). 

In this past weekend’s Wall Street Journal, author Kathryn Dill, wrote that the directive, demanding boss of the past is just that…history. Managers of the future will be more “social-emotional experts” helping employees get along with others better so that collaboration is fostered and that listening and understanding skills are mastered.

2021 promises to be an amazing year of recovery and growth and we can all do our part to make sure we are supporting ourselves and each other by reaching out and helping.


The Leadership Café
Dr. Tuesday Stanley is President of Westmoreland County Community College. Joining the institution in 2014, becoming the first female president in the 50 years that the college has been open. During her time at Westmoreland, the college has been awarded a Title III, $2.5 million grant to strengthen online educational services and student services to ensure a full spectrum of services to all of the communities the college serves.

In this episode, Dr. Stanley discusses what it was like when the pandemic first hit and how quickly the school had to switch from the primarily in-person institution, to primarily online. She also discusses how the importance of communication and finding bigger ways to communicate throughout the institution played a big role in the acceptance of changing to online education.   

Nicholas Kuhn is CEO of NanoGrip Technologies; Carnegie Mellon University spin off that produces microfibrillar dry adhesives. NanoGrip s the first commercial manufacturer of dry adhesive technology providing micro-fibrillar polymer based dry adhesives and surfaces for a wide range of product applications.

Nicholas shares how NanoGrip partners with their customers from the planning to prototyping to mass production process. Nick also shares some great advice for young entrepreneurs and how they can “step up to the plate.”

© Richard Citrin 2021

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