Global uncertainty, global economic panic and global shifting can create fear in even the most stable person. As a leader in the position of guiding others through the storm it can be daunting. But now more than ever we need leaders to step up and provide those they lead a path, a light and a way.
The best way for us as leaders to do this is to take full ownership of what we can control and to collaborate and include others in order to innovate for the future.
There are 3 strategies that can support leaders to help guide their teams to thrive in uncertain times.
Strategy #1- You must do a self- audit- what are your personal motives? What do you want for yourself and what do you want for others? Uncertain times bring out insecurity and CYA behaviors. Are you looking for the best interests of the individuals on your team? If your team senses that you are looking out for number one and not focused on the good of the team or on the bigger picture they will become more fearul and insecure. The reality is that some industries are thriving right now, technology, agriculture, education to name a few. Other industries such as manufacturing or old technology are not thriving so much. If the reality of your industry is that there will major downsizing, and restructuring then as a leader you must lead with the highest scruples, open communication and integrity.
Strategy #2- Re-invent. If you are terrified of redundancy the only antidote is to reinvent. This requires the ability to change your identity, to let go of what you have known and leap towards that which you don’t know. An obvious opportunity is around technology- we must continue to adapt to the ever evolving technological innovations. When you take the risk to reinvent you motivate others to do the same. Through osmosis your team will see your willingness to grow, learn and change and they will be inspired to do the same.
Recently my family and I went bungee jumping- I had never wanted to bungee jump but my husband bought it for me as a birthday present as an experience to do as a family. I went through with it even though I was afraid I decided to ‘take the leap’.
The time leading up to the jump was stressful but after it was over I felt nothing but exhilarated. I posted pictures and video to Facebook and the comments from people were that I was crazy but also brave. It really doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks but what the jump did for me was help me breakthrough any lingering fears or doubts I had about these uncertain times. Basically if I could jump off of a bridge over a raging river with nothing but a harness and survive then I guess I can pretty much do anything. I am not suggesting you have to bungee jump- but when is the last time you did something really big that shifted your identity? When we do something big it inspires others to bust through their barriers too.
Strategy #3- Harness your stress- in a recent issue of Psychology Today there was an article about the positive and negative sides of stress. When we are balancing stress with self care strategies we are harnessing our stress for the positive. When we are mixing stress with self sabotaging behaviors then we experience negative stress. As a leader we need to lead others on how to stay calm, centered and focused. When we have a team of calm and centered people we increase the likelihood of creative solutions and collaboration. In September I attended a meditation retreat for 5 days- at first I panicked when I thought of sitting still for 30 minutes at a time 3 times a day. As soon as I committed to the quiet though an amazing thing happened- I felt myself come down from the adrenaline that drives me daily. Prior to the retreat I committed to a 21-day meditation challenge and found it quite easy to do. Post retreat I have been able to remain committed to the practice- even when traveling- and I am in awe of how calm and focused I am. I still feel stress of course but it doesn’t ‘run’ me anymore. Our team members are watching us and how we manage our stress and how we live our lives.
We must model good stress management and balance in these ‘permanent chaotic times’.
If you would like to see how the current economic shifts are creating a new world economy and the positive outcomes of the current changes- check out the stats at http://www.bain.com