As an Elevated Leader, who takes the high road about the situation, if you find ways to stay calm so that you can continue to be the pillar of support for the teams, as well as for your clients and all stakeholder. This way, you can influence their full engagement and support.
We are living in a world right now, that has challenged the very core of our existence. In what we trusted and believed to be true, leaving us to experience stress and anxiety in all areas of our lives. We are all coping up by making the best out of the situation. We are discovering new things about our existence on a global basis. Some good experiences, of family time and bonding of communities. While others are overpowering with grief over the loss of innocent lives. We are face to face with the reality of what is beyond our means and we hope for the well-being of humanity.
In your role, as a leader, you have faced challenges daily. Whether it has been in the area of business, operations, employee engagement, clients issues, or handling directions from higher levels, or external factors like economic and technological trends impacting the business revenue. As leaders we know how to operate well under pressure, we find ways to solve issues with a sense of knowing.
In the current scenario – the sense of knowing has been challenged. With several external factors and pressures, there is a loss of sense of control. The Covid-19 pandemic is testing the leaders of companies and organizations in every sector around the world. Its consequences could last for a long duration and present greater difficulties than anyone anticipates. The prolonged uncertainty is all the more reason for leaders to embrace the practices and reflect on the question in this article.
Those who do, it will help establish or reinforce behaviors and values that can support their organization and communities during this crisis. Hence, however long it continues, the leaders can prepare themselves well for the next large-scale challenge of recovery.
What Questions are going on in your mind?
Let us agree, it is a testing time for you as the Leader. Your teams are watching you, your Bosses want to see how you plan to lead. Not to mention, your peers, your family all have an eye on your moves and how you show up.
There may be several questions in your mind:
· Have we reached the high point of the Global Recession? If so, what are the options available to you for the business?
· How do I lead in this world of uncertainty, not knowing when the pandemic will stop?
· How will it affect your business or industry? As a result of this, what would need to be evolved or adjusted to keep my Organization’s core identity, Vision, and culture moving forward?
What questions are emerging about your Leadership?
As the World is progressing towards managing the global pandemic,
· What is your approach in life towards seeing the situation? Is the glass half empty or half-full? It is an opportunity or a complete disaster?
· What type of Thinking is Best for a Leader to Managing their own Mind?
· What is the default mode that you seem to be operating in?
· What is your Outlook toward the situation that sets the pace for the day?
· Where could help you to draw the balance between being optimistic and being real?
Questions to explore the Team and support needed.
Leaders can better mobilize their organizations by setting clear priorities for the response and empowering others to discover and implement solutions that serve those priorities. Some questions to ponder would be:
· The year started with great plans and vision for 2020, how have you re-worked the vision to match the organization’s emerging priorities?
· Have you identified key goals, that align with your vision to help you measure the desired outcomes, which will enable making progress in the right direction?
· Have you created a plan to engage your immediate teams? And the leaders within the organization? Your industry sector? As well with the relevant government authorities?
· What skills do you need to find on your team going forward? Where are the gaps?
· Are you leveraging on the network of industry practitioners?
· Are your special task force crafting solutions for all possible options that could emerge?
· Have you assembled a team of innovations, to share creative ways to manage the business?
· Have you taken ideas from the influencers to plan alternative scenarios?
· Have you re-calibrated the digital space to implement your revised business plans?
· Have you engaged with HR to harness employee engagement?
· Have you arranged with the Finance & Legal teams to work out ways for managing the compensation plans and the revised perk and salaries?
Questions about Managing your Mind
· Mental health is important. At this stage-managing, your Mind is going to be a big asset. Your capacity to work fast would be a great way to manage the multiple areas that have emerged.
· You may need to make efforts to ensure you find ways to qualify and filter out the information and from the relevant & reliable sources.
· Managing your emotions for keeping your mind in the best form. Finding the balance of being in a place of Calm, rather than being reactive or reflective.
· Find reasons to build humor into the conversations. Keeping an optimistic approach to finding innovative possibilities may further give rise to creative options.
· Investing time in your well-being will enable you to sustain your effectiveness over the weeks and months that a crisis can entail. Find ways to manage your health. It is time to be aware of what you are eating? How you are keeping fit. Exercising is a great way to manage stress. If you really do not have the time to step out of the home, use the Apps to fit in time to get a stay indoor a 20-30 mins workout.
· Find ways to make a difference, start by contributing to a great cause. Think of ways you can add value to others, showing them care and concern.
· Create and keep to a routine, even while working from home. Connect with the teams for updates. Show some personal engagement to check in their well-being through Video calls and not just sending emails.
· Setting aside time for Reflections – making it a daily practice to assimilate all the data points and get a sense of control of your own leadership.
· Make decisions, get the team going. However also be ready to improve the decision, as soon as you have the next input of information. Hear the information, pause to assess, and reflect. Chart out the pro and cons, anticipate the next steps, and then act. If after making decisions, plans still need recalibration, take the courage to amend and make the changes.
On a Zoom call coaching session with a seasoned Banker a C-Suite Executive yesterday the coaching conversation explored the scenario and the impact and future effects of the Pandemic on a global basis to Asia. From the country level, moving to the industry and finally, as to how it was affecting the Organization. After exploring these several aspects, the conversation evolved where the Coachee felt a sense of the high level of uncertainty about all of the effects going forward.
As a Leader, it can be an overwhelming space to find yourself in. I also shared with him the analogy of the Duck sailing smoothly on the water, yet is paddling its feet to stay afloat.
While acknowledging the overwhelming situation and empathizing with him, I asked – so now what would be like to see evolve for you?
After reflecting, he felt while there was a sense of overwhelm, but the hope of new possibilities in the future helps to become resilient. As an optimistic individual, he quickly bounced forward with hope. He started to make plans of getting things aligned to find the best ways forward, creating collaborations with the teams.
The main point of this sharing is that until the Leader my Coachee realized that he must stand firm and calm, and make decisions based on what is the current and relevant information available to him. So that the teams can get into action, and start working towards it. When any new information would emerge, he had the choice to adjust plans as necessary, but he must be definitive. By staying calm, it would also help to make informed decisions which will allow the teams to have the necessary direction to act.
You can influence others by Communicating
Leaders while offering an optimistic and realistic outlook should show their concern through taking special care to acknowledge the situation, empathizing with the stakeholders. Showing concern, addressing their pain, and patiently answering all questions. This can be done with communicating frequently and by being real and transparent about the facts.
With the regular updates they feel reassured and it shows that the leaders are following the situation closely and managing the crises, and adapting as they learn from the emerging information.
Leaders who take care and showing concern through the crises would be able to receive support from all the stakeholders during the recovery stage.
So, in conclusion: What leaders need during a crisis is not a predefined response plan but behaviors and mindsets that will prevent them from overreacting to yesterday’s developments and help them to make decisions for their teams to move ahead.