TOP TIPS FOR RESILIENT LEADERSHIP
If ever there was a moment to demonstrate Resilient Leadership, now is your time! Here are ten top tips to help you and your teams just a little in this uneasy time.
- You build resilience by learning from the past, to cope in the present and build optimistic resources for the future. So, each week (and sometimes daily), remind yourself and your teams:
- How did we cope last week?
- What did we positively learn (about ourselves/technology/other functions)?
- What resources did we use to pull through?
- How can we use this for our future learning?
Notice your triggers. Everyone in your team (you included) will be reacting to the stress of this time differently. Some people will be rising to the challenge, finding fascination in these uncertain times. Others will be finding the virtual life very stressful, including those juggling home schooling with home working. All of this means your ‘triggers’ will be close to the surface and some days abundant – small things will trigger you to a potentially difficult place. Practice this:
- Self-Awareness. Notice when your triggers are multiplying. When this is happening, practice ABC: Acknowledge this is difficult; Breathe and slow things down; Connect - talk to someone you trust.
- Be a compassionate leader with your team members. When you get an unexpected reaction from a team member, do the same as above: Help them Acknowledge the difficulty of the situation; Breathe; Connect - be the leader they can trust.
Walk back down your ‘Sticky Path’. The Sticky Path is when our emotions and feelings collide, and we can ‘ruminate’ and ‘catastrophise’ about a situation. This is particularly prevalent when – like now – there is so much uncertainty, rumours and an abundance of media information. Try not to let the Sticky Path gain traction for yourself or your team by asking three questions:
- What do I have control of here? (This is Acceptance: Recognising what you cannot control)
- What’s the most positive, yet realistic, story I can tell myself in this situation?
- What small goals can I focus on today that will distract my thinking?
- Who can I talk to (who won’t feed into or advance my negative thinking)?
- Letting Go. Whilst we are on the subject of ‘letting go’, the first stage of any transitional state is to let go of behaviours that are unhelpful to you. Today you might like to ask yourself and your team: *What behaviours do I/we need to let go of today as we face our new ‘normal’?
- Focus on Today. When life is this uncertain (and feels unsafe for many people), small goals matter. This is not a time for big, hairy, strategic goals. This is a time to focus on what can be achieved today, this week and celebrating small progress.
- Recharge! We talk a lot about this on our training and wow, you will need to take it seriously now. Get creative and find ways for you and your team to have proper recharge – that is, use your one opportunity for exercise wisely; eat well; get as good a sleep as possible; find SPACE. Notice if you or a team member are hitting burnout (and remember, Burnout can be a result of boredom as much as overwhelm) and talk to them about what could work to reduce it.
- Communicate x 10. However well you communicate with your team, strengthen it. Practice Transparency (tell your team what you know as soon as you know it); Listening (not partially, but actively) and regular Coaching. Ask, don't tell. Allow people autonomy to sort out problems. This is your opportunity to virtually coach your team. Check in with your team regularly with the best coaching question: What is the most useful thing I can do to support you today?
- Let go of the ‘Should Do’s. Now is a perfect time to strip the ‘should do’s’ from your life. Things on your to-do list you know you’ll never get around to; goals you know you’re not particularly motivated to achieve. Of course, there will always be tasks you ‘have to’ do, but now it the time to concentrate on areas of your life you are attracted to, you ‘want to’ do them, you ‘love’ doing them.
- I’ll talk more about Strengths in later blog posts, but for the moment concentrate on your Signature Strengths (those strengths that you find energising, natural and ‘just you’). Once you have reconnected with these, dial them up and find new ways to incorporate them into your life.
- The Long and the Short of it. The more this strange period of lockdown life continues, the more convinced I am that, psychologically, we need to do something that is cognitively unusual. We have to concentrate on the long term, (remembering this will pass, this is temporary), whilst finding joy in the short term. Small goals, small successes, gratitude and simple delights. I understand this is not easy, but it is worth practicing yourself and passing on to your team.