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Three Tips for Leading Through Uncertainty

employees bravely step towards an opportunity

 

In the midst of change, challenge and uncertainty as massive as what are collectively facing, every one of us is being called upon to exercise a very important kind of leadership.  Whether you are at the helm of an organization, a team, a community or a family, people are likely looking to you for strength and guidance – at a time when you, yourself are seeking it as well.

In times of uncertainty, it is more important than ever
to hold fast to the conviction that each one of us has what it takes to rise above anything life may bring us.

This is what the greatest leaders have done throughout history. It’s easy to lead when things are stable and successful. It’s when all chaos breaks loose and the chances of survival are slim that the world’s heroes have inspired people to remember who they are and rise up to their most daunting challenges.

Here are three things to remember to help you summon true leadership in yourself and others:

(1) Nothing will come your way that you cannot handle.

If you want proof, consider the fact that you are still here. Think back to the last struggle or setback you faced. What did you do? How did you get through it? What did you learn? In retrospect, what would you tell yourself in order to help you get through that? And what will you tell yourself now?

Sometimes it helps to think of the worst-case scenario. What would you do? Really. What would you do? If you sit with that question and allow yourself to remain calm, you will find an answer.

Because when you get quiet, you summon that which is timeless within you – that which will not change with the uncertainty, but rather grow stronger in the face of it – your inner strength, resilience, creativity and ingenuity.

Benjamin Franklin said it well many years ago: “To be thrown upon one’s own resources, is to be cast into the very lap of fortune; four our faculties then undergo a development and display an energy of which they were previously unsusceptible.”

Getting connected to your core strength is essential and must be done before you can provide any real inspiration and motivation to others. Your confidence will emanate at a level that people will feel – before you even say a word.

(2) Once you have reconnected with your own inner reserves, help others reconnect with theirs.

Extraordinary leaders connect with people at a deeper level. They see not only what each person they lead has done in the past, but also what they are capable of in the future.

In times of chaos and uncertainty, people need to be reminded of their strengths because trying times tend to lead us to doubt ourselves and forget how very capable and strong we really are.

Think about the people who look to you for guidance and support. What has each of them done in the past that has impressed you? What are their natural talents – the things they are so good at that they make look easy? What do they tend to do that has a positive impact on themselves and everyone around them?

Maybe it is a sense of humor. Perhaps it is an ability to foresee obstacles no one anticipated and create a plan for overcoming them. Maybe it is an ability to think outside the box, a dogged determination to make things work, or a natural tendency to partner with others.

What is it that gives you faith that no matter what happens, this person will rise above it? Speak to it with sincere appreciation and encouragement. Help that person to embody those qualities once again.

When you focus on the positive attributes in others, you help them recognize they have greatness within and catalyze their potential. This is what is needed most in times of change, challenge and uncertainty.

(3) Keep people’s focus (including your own) on possibilities rather than frustrations.

As with everything in life, whatever you focus on has a way of becoming amplified. When you allow yourself to become consumed with fear and doubt, your brain has a way of finding things that feed those states.  As a result, you’ll find there seems to be even more to be afraid of or frustrated by.

This phenomenon often happens without your conscious awareness, and it is a vicious cycle that can keep you falling deeper and deeper into despair.

Reversing this cycle requires a conscious effort.

When you notice you are feeling upset by a certain thought, the first step is to become aware of the thought that has caused the reaction and deliberately choose another one to focus on. There is always something positive or hopeful to focus on. Sometimes finding it takes a bit of work, but that effort will be met with rich rewards.

A man named Ambrose Redmoon once said “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important.”

So, figure out what is more important – more worthy of your attention and energy and focus on that. As you do, your innate talents and strengths will rise to the occasion.

As you shift your attention from obstacles to opportunities and put your energy on what is possible, you’ll see solutions that previously evaded you and recognize that you are capable of far more than you initially realized. And when you act from this frame of reference, you’ll inspire others to do the same.

Regardless of your title, position or role, you have an opportunity to practice REAL leadership at a time when people around you need it the most.  Don’t underestimate the impact you can have on yourself and others.  Remember:

(1) Nothing will come your way that you cannot handle.

(2) Once you have reconnected with your own inner reserves, help others reconnect with theirs.

(3) Keep people’s focus (including your own) on possibilities rather than frustrations.

For more tips on navigating through change and uncertainty, check out my book, The Pinocchio Principle: Becoming a Real Leader – How to Unleash Genius in Yourself and Those You Lead, available on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.