I’m getting lots of calls and questions from leaders and organizations, regarding how to confront the new challenges of 2020. Uncertainty can make you unsure of yourself and the future. You’ll lose leadership confidence and start making decisions from a place of fear. Instead of inspiring others toward success, you may inadvertently sow the seeds of doubt. When I’m asked how to face unprecedented challenges, I tell my executive clients to nurture a new and different perspective. Don’t just face your difficulties but embrace them. They are your opportunity for growth beyond your comfort zone that will accelerate your leadership ability to a much higher level.
Take a Deeper Dive
As I continually emphasize, executive presence and leadership strength must develop from inside yourself. Times like these demand core strength and clear vision. Trying to fake it will only expose your lack of credibility. You have to practice strategic interpersonal communication, and learn to listen with greater intent within every interaction. For some that means exercising more patience and understanding, valuing what others say, and sharing more of your own imperfect human side. For others it requires silencing the voices of negativity in your mind that tell you that you aren’t qualified or worthy, and then stepping into your own power.
Reevaluate Your Goals
Don’t limit yourself or your organization by only setting a goal of going back to your old ways of doing business. Take an objective look at all your options, and reset your goals while incorporating your newfound experience with a view toward innovation. For example, you may have recently discovered added value and flexibility when teams leverage virtual technology. There has never been a better time to take a fresh look at your underutilized resources and to upgrade your goals.Don’t just face your difficulties but embrace them. They are your opportunity for growth beyond your comfort zone. Click To Tweet
Encourage and Support
Stanford University researchers studied remote work and found that it can actually make you more productive. Some of your team members are experiencing that for themselves, and you should support and encourage them to keep the momentum going. Others may feel lost and lack motivation when don’t have the traditional structure of going to the office. Your job as a leader is to communicate with each team member individually, to understand their anxieties, insecurities, strengths, weaknesses, skills, and hopes. Don’t speculate or assume. Ask and listen. Then respond in a way that ensures that everyone is supported in their own way, so that they can contribute the most and see their careers blossom.
These days it is easy to plunge down a rabbit hole. Take a few minutes each day to regain a high altitude view. Brainstorm. Write down bold ideas. Evaluate strategic, calculated risks. Others may be paralyzed by confusion or fear. Your leadership responsibility is to keep looking ahead for the potential success that surrounds you. Once you have a clear picture of where you want to go, set benchmarks. Calculate what you have to do today to be where you want to be next month. Every time I do a coaching session, I make sure that my client leaves that session with an action plan they can start to implement the very same day. That’s how you and your team can achieve long range vision with practical steps in the here and now.
The Bottom Line
Those who resist change are compelled to live in the past. But since the beginning of time, the future has never been the same as the past; it is always new and different. Figure out how “different” can be good and can give you advantages next year that you didn’t have last year. That will inspire you as a leader to cultivate a broader perspective that will give you and your teams energy, optimism, and confidence.
Sarah’s Acceleration Insights
Here are some questions to ask yourself as you face challenges in these uncertain times.
- What resources, developmental opportunities, and technologies do team members need to be most productive and inspired?
- Where are our opportunities to play to the strengths needed (or newly discovered!) in this challenging environment?
- What new leadership skills do I need in order to adapt and remain entirely relevant in this new paradigm?
- Which of my individual strengths are most applicable today, and how can I nurture them to be recognized as the expert in those areas?
You cannot drive while your eyes fixated in the rearview mirror. Look up ahead at the destination you want to reach and accelerate!