Extraordinary Leadership In Uncertain Times

By Jinhuang Saw | Education

Mar 27

Leaderships tips from Success Resources’ CEO

Several years ago, I was conducting a large Leadership training in the Middle East and I was talking about the positive and negative emotional impact leaders can have on their teams. As I was talking, a lady in the crowd of about 1,000 people raised her hand and asked if she could speak. She introduced herself as a pediatrician (I later found out she was a very famous physician in the Middle East) and she told a story about her first assignment out of medical school which was on a pediatric oncology ward. She said that after several months of working there, she and the other doctors could predict with a high degree of accuracy which children were going to respond well to their treatment and which children were not. The interesting thing is that they could make this prediction almost immediately after meeting the children and their parents. What do you think they looked at to make this prediction? They looked at the Parents and how they were responding to this health crisis that their child was going through. Some parents showed up distraught, afraid and lacking hope, while parents of other children showed up with courage, confidence and the belief that their child was up to task of doing whatever it takes to heal their body. The doctor said a significant factor in children conquering cancer was based upon the emotional energy they were receiving from their parents.

While we are not the parents of the teams we lead, I would bet that your team is looking to you to provide them with the emotional energy they need to not only be successful at their jobs, but to have a positive impact on their families and communities right now. Two of the most powerful human emotional needs for every human being are the need for certainty and the need for connection. Both of these are in short supply right now. Most people have never seen anything like what is happening across the world right now in their lifetimes and they do not know how to process it. This is where Leadership can make a huge impact! As leaders how can we help people feel the ground back under their feet? I’m not suggesting that we bluff our way through this situation and ignore the facts. Instead, I believe now is the time to overcommunicate and help shape the stories that people are telling themselves about what’s happening and what it means. Below I have a few tips.

1.     Take Care of Yourself and Your Family. In spite of the fact that you are extremely busy, create rituals that insure your health and well-being. Powerful rituals can increase the strength of your immune system and improve your mental and emotional state. Your team can’t afford to have you go down mentally or physically.

a.     Get sufficient sleep.

b.     Eat healthy.

c.     Remember to exercise.

d.     Consider adding 20 minutes or more of meditation to your day.

e.     Release any fears or anxiety you may be holding onto.

f.      Be your own best cheerleader and pump yourself up each day.

g.     Spend time enjoying your family!

2.     Overcommunicate. Remember that people’s emotional state can shift in an instant based upon what they are focusing on. They can be fine one day and in fear the next.

a.     Consider doing a 10-minute “Daily Huddle” with your direct reports. This a quick meeting where each person quickly communicates their major accomplishment yesterday, their major focus for today and any pressing needs they need help with. The goal for the Daily Huddle is to provide a quick check in for you to see where people are emotionally, what they are focused on accomplishing and where they need help. The meeting should have a tight timeline that does not exceed 10-15 minutes. Any help that people need should be noted and handled in a separate call.

b.     Communicate deeper into your organization. Ask your direct reports who they think needs some connection and certainty. You especially want to focus on your influencers, up and coming stars and people who may be significantly impacted by the current situation. Communication from you to people who normally don’t get to hear from you directly is invaluable.

3.     Shape the Story of how your team will move forward. Every person has a story in their head that determines what they focus on and how they feel. As a leader you can influence the way that people on your team process what is happening and what it means. You and your team will move beyond the current situation and right now you can create a narrative of how you will all be better and stronger because of the adversity you have gone through.

a.     Help create a story of your team’s unity, courage, grit, toughness, focus on self-improvement and ability to overcome adversity. Some examples are:

i.     Communicating to your team of how you’ve built the team to be able to grow and find ways to win in moments just like this.

ii.     Telling your team of how they’ve been chosen for the team because of their grit and their ability to work through anything.

iii.     Encouraging your team to use this opportunity to grow stronger than they’ve ever been before to the point they feel unstoppable

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