Times are tough for us all right now. Feeling a rollercoaster of emotions on any given day is completely normal. And, as leaders, we may feel like there is additional pressure on us to always ‘keep it together’, or believe that we have to have all the answers to how things are going to go. What the future will look like. Even when in reality we know that no one has these answers. No one knows exactly when this pandemic will be over. And no one really knows what life will look like in years to come. There is no tried and tested guidebook. So, we do the best we can.
Dear Leader – no one expects you to have all the answers, but what people do expect of you as a leader is that you continue to show up. That you are prepared to be on the frontline navigating your people through the change. Through the adversity. Through the confusion and panic. And, you know what? You are probably feeling pretty over that right about now. Even the most optimistic and positive of individuals have their limits, and a 3rd round of lockdown might just be about yours.
And, you know what – that is OK.
You, dear leader, need to feel whatever you need to feel, and you should reach out to whoever you need to talk to in order to help you feel it.
But, then, we have to move forward. We have to keep showing up.
YOUR leadership matters now more than ever… BUT, HOW DO WE AS LEADERS KEEP SHOWING UP?
- By communicating openly, honestly and vulnerably. By not promising anything you cannot guarantee. By not acting like you have all the answers – instead, seeking input from your teams. By remembering the power of your words.
- By remembering the importance of self-leadership and being aware of your own leadership presence. Try to embody to others what you yourself need right now.
- By considering the impact you are having on your own team and colleagues. Are you lifting them up in these times, or paralysing them with avoidance or fear?
The way organisations (read: leaders!) choose to treat their employees now will dictate their organisation’s reputation, and their employee loyalty for far longer than the after-effects of this virus.
So, I implore you. All of you. Reflect on how YOU are showing up. What are you consciously working on as part of your own leadership development? What are your own unique leadership development focuses? Have you stuck to those, or defaulted back into old and ineffective behaviours during times of uncertainty and stress?
Think back to feedback you’ve received about your own leadership impact over time. Feedback you’ve received from your teams, your peers, your manager. What are they telling you they need from you, and how are you showing up in the context of that today?
Would you be strong in avoidance style behaviour, keeping your head down in the hope this all goes away and just ignoring it until it does? Have you defaulted to oppositional styles and are expressing a strong resistance to change and new ways of doing things due to fear or insecurity? Are you operating from a place of passive defensive behaviour, and relying on others to make decisions and take charge for you?
Or, are you operating from a constructive leadership space? Remaining receptive to changes, motivating and empowering those around you to do the same, and practising high levels of emotional intelligence, vulnerability, and a coaching style of leadership?
When times are tough, it is natural to default to behaviours we are trying to move away from. This is where the work is though. The growth. This is leadership. To keep showing up. Even when you are scared yourself.
There are four critical areas right now that with a continued proactive and purposeful focus from their leaders will help Organisations to continue to navigate their people though this pandemic, and the transition to a new post-Covid world.
- Reflecting on self-leadership and how you are showing up – are you helping or hindering your team to succeed right now?
- Communicating with empathy
- Preserving camaraderie and connectedness even in a virtual world
- Maintaining trust in teams.
What emphasis are you placing on the above areas right now?
I would encourage you to take 15 minutes to complete the below self-coaching questions and reflect on your own style right now. There are many things we do not have control over right now. One thing you do though, is you.
SELF – COACHING QUESTIONS
- What kind of leadership are you looking for right now?
- Based on your answer above, how do you feel that your own leadership is showing up in comparison?
- What could you be more focused on over the coming weeks in terms of your own leadership style?
- What will you start doing differently to ensure your team is able to maximize their potential?
- On a scale of 1 – 10, how committed you are to taking this action? (If you put anything below a 7, I suggest you do some deeper self-reflection on what other barriers are getting in your way right now. What other support do you need?)
Above all – remember this…
You are only human. You cannot pour from an empty cup. Please remember to look after yourselves and be kind to yourselves too.
If you are reading this article and have realized that you don’t have a program in place for your current leadership team (or emerging leaders) to grow greater awareness of their own leadership impact, let’s chat about what that could look like for you. Self-aware leaders are more confident, more courageous and make better business decisions. How self-aware are yours?
Reach out to me here and lets connect. I can promise you no B/S and no jargon. Just real talk and real connection.