Wow isn’t it an interesting time for leaders of today. We are facing some challenging days and months ahead of us, let’s face it we are dealing with some serious uncharted waters.
Covid-19 is creating an environment that as leaders, we have never had to face before and neither have the leaders before them.
It’s a crazy time with no history to draw on, but an opportunity as a leader to make history for future leaders. Let’s face its rather cool and scary all at once, right?
The problem with making leadership history is that there is a big fat spotlight on all leaders because there is nowhere to hide in the face of adversity.
Authentic leadership will emerge or not depending on how we act and respond in the face of fear!
Our people will turn to us for guidance, protection and encouragement as they are facing the same fears we are.
Long after the virus has gone when the pandemic no longer exists, our people will remember how they felt and the part we played in that.
Our people will remember that even when we didn’t have the answers, it didn’t matter because we responded in a way that made them feel safe, that we didn’t react from a place of defensiveness because we didn’t have the answers
They will remember that we listened and we approached all conversations with empathy, compassion and patience even when we were stressed and busy that we made time for them and were a reassuring ear.
People will quickly forget the virus or the processes, and the detail plans and actions that were needed what they will remember is how they felt during this time, how we made them feel.
Our people are watching and anticipating every move we make, every reaction, every inaction, how we emotionally respond, how we communicate they are turning to us for guidance whether we realise or not they are noticing everything we do and don’t do.
Our people are looking to us for answers, but often it’s not the answer to their question they need, they are searching for reassurance, people are not stupid they know we are navigating uncharted waters they know we don’t have all the answers.
People just need to know it will be okay even it’s not okay right now! Our people
need us to stop and ask them are they alright and recognise when they are not.
They need to know we are ALL scared, that it’s okay to be afraid and support them with steps to reduce those fears!
Okay I have to stop here as I can hear those leaders saying sacred? I am not scared! What are you talking about?
Sorry but I call BS on that, and I am going to say it unapologetically you are delusional.
Everyone has fear at some level, it may not be directly related to the virus and your health but indirectly how the virus will impact financial performance, knowing what to do next or what the economy will look like after the pandemic and the impact it’s having on business, what will happen if we go into recession?
The problem with not acknowledging the fears is that unconsciously these fears are having a direct impact on how you are behaving and how your team is feeling. Bringing these fears into your consciousness gives you self awareness on how you are responding to your people!
Now back to what I was saying as leaders, our people just need reassurance in times of uncertainty, and we do that by being confident and by being present even when we are feeling shit scared ourselves!
Our people need to know that we will get through this because we will get through it together.
It is in stressful times that people learn from their leader how to respond to challenges and how to behave when faced with things out of our control. It is right now we are coaching our people how to be resilient through our resilience.
It is right now as leaders that our people are looking to us so they can be resilient, free of panic and face the unknown with confidence.
The time to lead is now.