Navigating the Waters
This is an unprecedented time for any leader who is managing a team. Not only are you, as leaders, being tasked with balancing the energy and high emotion that your employees may be feeling right now but you still have a ship to run. You may be feeling stressed and uncertain yourself, as you too are human; yet you are expected to appear in control, have the answers and navigate the ship into better waters. You are likely feeling inundated daily with questions from your team, new rules and regulations to abide by, and questions you may not have answers to. You may be wondering how you can keep on top of everything, all while still supporting and managing your team. A few ways to navigate during challenging and uncertain times are:
Self-Care. As a leader and one that has likely travelled, you will know from the safety talks during flight travel, that you “need to put on your oxygen mask first, before you can help anyone else”. So, with this, remember you need to put on your oxygen mask and don’t forget during the stressful and challenging times, that you need to be healthy and of good mind before you can help anyone else. Do some self care in your evenings and take the needed time to look after you.
Honesty and Integrity. Teams want a capable leader who manages stress well and who deals effectively with pressure and difficulty when it appears. They are looking for leadership now more than ever. You don’t have to have all the answers but showing up with honest communication and integrity, will go a long way. It is okay to let your team know that you don’t have all the answers but that together in team, you will thrive. Honest conversation such as this will give them permission to lift up with their strengths and to share ideas and innovation that may help you in clearing the ship from the glaciers.
Work based on Strengths. Each one of us has different strengths. The value in hiring a diverse skill set and personality type is that you achieve a well-rounded team that can perform in even the biggest of waves; that is, if you let them. So often, leaders hire a wide range of skill and strength; yet these individual strengths are suppressed to conform with the norm and expectation. If you want to really see strength in numbers, you need to give permission to people to show up. You need to allow for failure, and provide a safe culture for innovation, change and new ideas. Three out of five ideas may fail but the two that win, may be the two that take your business into new waters.
Lean on Each Other. In times of challenge and pressure, it is natural for people to hit a breaking point where the wheels fall off. What is interesting is that this breaking point is different for everyone. So instead of one person holding the weight of the world on their shoulders, lean on each other, work together and when one person is hitting their breaking point, lean on another who may have more bandwidth to carry the team through the trenches. Teamwork is critical; power is in numbers.
Believe and Trust. Sometimes in life, we just need to have faith, trusting and believing that everything in is alignment in the bigger picture and that the pieces will fall as they will. And should they fall, we believe enough in ourselves to have the strength to pick up, look for the lessons and to find new opportunity in the challenging moments. Letting go of “control” including trying to force something that is out of your hands, can cause burnout. Instead, ride the wave and find enjoyment and gratefulness in the journey.
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