As we enter these unprecedented times, we are being called upon to expand the vision of who we are and what we can do. Many of you in leadership positions, whether you are in an organization or running your own business, are looking for new ways to stay engaged and keep your people engaged, motivated, and productive. It is a challenge amongst so much fear and change. But it’s not impossible. Here are some tips for successful leadership during ambiguous times.
Let me start by reiterating something I’ve said and written about many times: it’s not about the changes that are going on, it’s our reactions to them.
For so many of us, our daily routines have entirely changed. I used to get up every morning and go to the gym. Now that I cannot do that, I find myself starting my day by reading or watching the news, which demotivates me and leaves me not wanting to work during the day. So, I thought I’d better start my day with new practices since I can’t go to the gym!
Now, first thing in the morning, I go for a 30-minute walk, listen to something inspirational, and plan my day. When I get back, I’m geared up to work and pop open my computer and get going. I’ve refrained from watching or reading the news until later in the day. I feel if it’s REALLY important, the news will get to me somehow!
Here’s my point: whether we are leading teams or leading parts of the organization, we know that leadership starts with ourselves and NOT with others.
Getting into the right mindset is the first step to successful leadership during ambiguous times. Once we are in the right mindset, we can effectively lead others!
We may think if we “just find the right tip,” our ability to lead and inspire others will magically fall into place (I know I’ve felt that in the past!). But that isn’t how it happens.
It is when we shift our thoughts and behaviors that the magic of change happens.
Here are five tips to help you get into the right mindset so you can successfully lead during these crucial times:
- Notice what thinking is going through your head before you even get out of bed. Is it “oh no more coronavirus,” or can you reach for another thought that’s just a little more positive? I’m not saying you put a positive spin on a bad situation. I’ve been thinking about how lucky I am to get up again in the morning and how I’m looking forward to my walk (the opposite isn’t so good.) I don’t know who first said this, and I will say it again: How you start your day is how you live your day!
- Ground yourself in facts while balancing the emotional aspect. Pay attention to where you are getting the ‘facts’ from! Just because it’s in the ‘news’ doesn’t mean it’s accurate.
- Share your experiences with your team and colleagues. Creating a community of shared understanding is essential during this time.
- Be prepared to be unprepared. We do not know how this will unfold, yet what we do know is that it will pass.
- Take two minutes and do this at the end of the day before you sign off your computer. Write down three accomplishments you are proud of, why they were important to you, and what you will do to continue the momentum tomorrow! It may sound corny, but this helps you stay focused and build confidence when there is lots of turmoil going on out in the world. I started doing this a few weeks ago, and it’s made a huge difference. It’s not just a ‘woo woo’ trick. Try it!
Like Albus Dumbledore, the esteemed headmaster of Hogwart’s School of Wizardry and Witchcraft, said: “It’s not our abilities that say who we truly are. It is our choices.”
What will you choose to do differently during this time? You can do it!