The COVID-19 crisis has shaken everyone’s world. For leaders who are used to having answers, the world is even more turbulent because there are few answers and they keep changing. How do you lead in such an environment? Despite all the uncertainty, there are a few things that ARE certain and that ARE still in your control. In fact, there are six critical things you must do to ground yourself so you can effectively lead during this uncertain time.
#1 – Accept Uncertainty
Accept that it is normal for you to feel uncertain, off your “game” and off-kilter during these times. You are used to accomplishing, doing tasks, being in control and knowing what is what. Today, you are not in control. The local, state and federal governments are controlling much of what you can and cannot do. Add that to changed corporate policies and practices and you can see that much of what is happening is out of your control. Its unsettling. Its disturbing. Its new, different and totally uncomfortable. Of course you are uncertain and unsettled. That is a normal, even healthy response, to the lack of normalcy that is your current reality.
#2 – Acknowledge to Yourself That You Don’t Have to Know
Acknowledge to yourself that it is okay for you not to know right now, to not know what is happening, what is going to happen and when things will change. As a leader, you expect yourself to know or to get the knowledge when it is needed. Yet you can’t know right now. Things are changing by the hour and there is much more unknown than known. So, remove your own expectation that you know. You can’t. You don’t. And that is okay.
This acknowledgement leads to the third critical thing for you to do. Now that you have acknowledged to yourself that you don’t know, now acknowledge it to others.
#3 – Acknowledge to Others That You Don’t Know
Give yourself permission to admit vulnerability to your team and those around you. None of us have been in this situation before, so your team knows you don’t know everything. Admitting it will build trust: you are being honest, and they know it. Acknowledging your unknowing to others also reduces stress (it’s very stressful to pretend to be something you are not).
#4 – Take Care of Yourself
Take care of yourself physically, mentally, socially and emotionally. Accept what you can control, let go of the rest. You can control what time you wake up and what time you go to bed. You can’t control when you’ll be able to go to a movie theater or restaurant again, but you aren’t powerless. Take a look at some of these suggestions from the CDC.
#5 – Take Care of Others
As you take care of yourself, also remember to take care of others. Reach out and connect by phone or video conference. Facebook has its place, but you need to live, real-time interaction and so do others. Be there to serve others even if it’s just a listening ear or sharing a funny story. Move from “me” to “we” and you’ll find greater satisfaction each day.
#6 – Reduce the Fear by Being Grateful
Finally, be grateful for what is good.
it This will reduce the fear that you feel and see around you. In a conversation last week with other leaders, we each were able to identify several good things that are currently happening in our lives that we would like to continue beyond this crisis time. What are you grateful for today?
Doing these six critical things will help you ground yourself so you can effectively lead during this uncertain time.
Special Invitation: Join me for a specially discounted virtual program to meet with other leaders and learn how to increase your proactivity, focus, and productivity during this chaotic time filled with uncertainty and toxicity – for application now and in the future. Learn more HERE.
This article has been written by Lisa C Gregory – Chief Product Officer of People Acuity, The Interdependent Leadership Company, and co-author of Shift Up! Strengths Strategies for Optimal Living. It has been written in collaboration with People Acuity co-thought leaders, DeAnna Murphy and Steve Jeffs. Lisa has led teams of 2 people to teams of 242 people,reaching people on five continents. Learn more about Interdependent Leadership, People Acuity and its cutting edge virtual or live programs at www.peopleacuity.com.