Several weeks ago, a dozen or so of my colleagues and I came together to enjoy a congenial after-work celebration to share the mundane trials and triumphs of our days over corned beef and seasonal snacks. What we didn’t know was that shortly after, we would be peppered with increasingly distressing pieces of news that could impact our health, livelihoods, families, nest eggs, and even our ability to enjoy the simple pleasure of sitting in the same room together.
Seldom in a lifetime are we as a nation faced with such a set of circumstances that so clearly and collectively impact us as deeply in our everyday personal and professional lives as what we have experienced over these recent weeks.
When the world is changing and our very foundations seem to be constantly shifting from underneath, it’s more important than ever to recalibrate one’s center. It can feel like everyone is turning to you for answers, but you have none. What can you do, when there is no roadmap, no certainty, and no precedent?
As we begin to figure out our “new normal”, remember to channel your leader within, and consider the following:
1. Take Care of Yourself
Being a leader in times of turbulence often means attending too and even absorbing everyone else’s needs and worries, but don’t forget to take care of yourself. This advice aligns with airline guidance to put on your own oxygen mask first so that you can be well enough to assist others.
2. Be Authentic
Use emotional intelligence to process your emotions so that what you are experiencing inside aligns with what you are reflecting on the outside. This builds trust, which is an essential leadership quality in times of uncertainty.
3. Reaffirm Your Vision
Remember that you set the tone, and others are looking to you for cues in how to respond. If you are calm, intentional, creative, and focused, it will help those who rely on you to find those qualities within themselves.
4. Promote Open Lines of Communication
Out of site shouldn’t be out of mind – check in with others working remotely to see how they are doing and what they need from you to help them find their footing.
5. Show Empathy
Give people the trust and flexibility to work through the multitude of competing pressures on their minds and hearts. Each person is facing unique challenges, so give others (and yourself) some slack. Everyone is trying their best under extraordinary circumstances.
6. Focus on What is in Your Control
Focus on what you can versus cannot control. Be agile and ready to go where you are needed. Ask “How can I help?” and be willing to step in wherever you are needed.
7. Be Creative
Think outside of the box. It’s clear that the rules are changing as quickly as someone can write them down, so be willing to change your processes and procedures and be willing to flex when a new approach is needed.
Eventually, we will emerge from this current circumstance, and it will certainly change us in unpredicted ways – as a nation, as communities, organizations, and as individuals. Undoubtedly this shared experience will also define what we consider to be a traditional workplace, and how we create, communicate, and collaborate. Drawing on your leader within can help you and the people you work with and care about come through this experience feeling whole and prepared for what is next.