Leadership in Times of Uncertainty

I appreciate that you are clicking into my blog to connect with me, especially in these times of uncertainty and under the challenging circumstances of today's business climate. Our lives have been turned upside down in ways we never imagined!

The pandemic events that began in March, 2020, and are ongoing, have stunned us. Even so, to help us stay grounded, we need to remember that even in “normal times” change is the only constant.  I've been through other crises, and likely you have been too. I know that the gift of challenges is the learning that comes through the experience, and that you carry with you to “do differently” in the future. 

Accordingly, I've learned that in business and in life, relationships are key. Because of that, there is strength in connecting to support one another. It's important. Together, we will get through this!

Leadership in Times of Uncertainty - Cartoon Zoom Meeting - Leading Edge Teams

Navigating Challenges

Like mine, your family and your work team will do what's necessary to navigate this challenge. In the midst of this, I saw a headline (Reuters/James Bullard) that caught my attention: “Coronavirus shutdown is not a recession, but an investment in survival.” On so many levels, that statement is profound—physically, emotionally and also in your business.

Unmatched in our life experience, this rapid change came upon us without warning. It's as if we were paddle boarding along the ocean coastline, enjoying our life, taking care of business, and suddenly forces of nature ripped our paddle away, pitching us into the heavy waves, afraid for our lives. This left us reeling and feeling out-of-control in all aspects of life… at least temporarily.

Learn to Pause

There's no way to soft-coat the truth about this situation. In the short term, we are thrown into “fight or flight” reactive emotions. But awareness helps us to quickly regroup and not let our emotions drive our choices. It's normal to have emotional reactions and become self-protective. For this reason, it’s also human nature to have knee-jerk reactions and want to: deny, blame, avoid, hide, resist and so much more. I'm sure you could add your reactions to my shortlist. Yes, go ahead and do that, so you fully recognize what you are feeling. Without judgement, observe your thoughts and feelings. You need to accept what is; it is the only path forward. Resistance keeps you stuck. That is why, as the saying goes, resistance will get you nowhere. So…

…Relax, take a breath. As you decide what to do next, I recommend that you deliberately choose to PAUSE. Give your “thinking brain” an opportunity to kick in, so that you look at what is happening in the present moment. CLARIFY THE SITUATION you are dealing with.

Thankfully, a crisis can be a unifier when you and those on your team stay centered in Self-Leadership.

Choose Your Path

It isn't always easy to face facts, but the good news is that you can choose your next step. You have control of how you are going to show up in the challenging situation you have identified. Who is your most confident self? Think about the positive influence you can be. What words will you say? What actions will you take? What behaviors will help you and the team get back on track for achieving the outcomes you are after?

  1. Work through your own fear and disappointment, and the grief and loss. It is important to feel your feelings and not bypass them. I recommend this article: That Discomfort You're Feeling Is Grief 
  2. In any challenge, remain open and look for the opportunity. 
  3. Make your own wellness a priority—self-care is more important than ever.
  4. Use downtime in your business, to build your business infrastructure. That way when the opportunities arise you will be best prepared to take action.
  5. Keep logic and your reasoning brain engaged—avoid emotional decisions.

This Won't Be Easy

As you step out to lead tomorrow, know that decision-making is hard. It's not possible to be 100 percent sure… it's okay to let go of certainty. Expect to be at best, 65–70  percent sure of your decisions. Accept tomorrow may force you to pivot… and possibly again the next day… 

Evaluating new information as it comes in, and being able to shift as needed to get the best outcomes, is the name of the game in uncertain times. And remember, now more than ever, you need to hear all of your team’s perspectives when you’re at the table decision-making. Most importantly, make use of the facts you get from listening to all perspectives. I cannot stress this enough. Your people know your business and customers in ways that you do not, and the questions they raise, suggestions they make (and more), are like gold to mine in this time of uncertainty

Stay grounded and connected!  
– Annie

For more specifics to help decision-making: “Leadership in Times of Uncertainty” Blog # 2  

Try these same concepts with your family. They can help all ages feel more connected and heard. Fears lessen as situations are accepted, and plan and purpose going forward is openly spoken about.  

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