We are living in an extraordinary situation, global events which are uncontrollable by us, are presenting challenges that directly affect the business results while creating confusion and fractioning in teams.
In such conditions of high uncertainty, where external factors cannot be modified it`s the duty of leadership to act promptly to create trust and optimism in the work environment.
What can leaders do to create a mindset of support and persistence in the team in uncertain times?
1. Start with you: Self-Management
To be the leader in front of an Enterprise/ Team/ Project doesn`t mean that you are deprived of feelings of fear, stress, or anxiety. It is normal for everyone, including leaders to experience all kinds of feelings, especially in an extraordinary situation like the ones we are currently facing. The difference between people with a confident mind and others stands in the fact that they can acknowledge when negative thoughts are taking them down and take concrete steps to stop this draining process. If you can understand the devastating energy of your negative thoughts by being aware of your emotional state, you have taken the first step toward self-management.
When you are mindful of your feelings and thoughts you allow yourself to stop the spiral of negative thoughts and replace them with thoughts that serve you better.
The replacement of negative thoughts with positive thoughts that forward actions are the main purpose of self-management. If you can change the pattern of your thoughts, you can change not only the results of your work but your entire life.
2- Make things clear for your team
If your goal is to have a flexible team that supports you in uncertain times, each team member needs to be informed clearly bout the actual situation and the challenges that you are facing. Every team member should be aware of all the roadblocks to providing a valuable contribution in service of the team goals.
Meetings in challenging times should be frequent but short and specific, the focus of these meetings should be equally on the identification of current conditions and problem-solving, brainstorming process to generate alternative solutions.
For this process to be effective meetings should be inclusive and create the space for each team member to provide input. By making use of the advantages of team diversity you can explore the topic from different perspectives and create a better understanding of the situation. The benefit of an inclusive decision-making process stands also in effectively using every resource you have within the team starting with each team member as a unique source of creativity for optimal solutions.
3- Choose the right perspective
In every challenge, some teams make it, and others that don`t. Communicate with your team from the perspective of an optimistic future, where success is attainable regardless of the current situation of the ecosystem. Each team member must perceive optimism and trust to feel motivated and engage in a process of growth and transformation.
The question to ask yourselves in this situation is:
-“If one year from today we see that our team has succeeded to exceed all the roadblocks and achieved high results, what are some steps we can take starting from today to get closer to that desired result?”
This question aims to avoid digging into the problem and create an approach that is directed toward action and results. You allow the team to detach from the current challenges and observe the situation from a wider perspective while keeping the focus on a successful future. This process is based on the adaption and adoption of new creative solutions.
4- The main task of a leader is to be in service of the team.
The main perception of leaders is that they are leaders in front who take decisions and have a team who serves them to achieve successful results.
All the present events have proved that successful leaders have implemented a mindset of servant leadership. Their most noble duty is to be in service of their team, to create an empowering environment for each team member to achieve the maximal potential and use it for the common purpose.
Every member of the team is indispensable and holds a fair share of merit in the team’s results. Each member is perceived as of great value because of unique individual characteristics, point of view, and contribution that brings “to the table”.
Trust is the glue that holds a team together, especially in times of uncertainty. A successful leader is aware of the fact that building trust is a process that takes time and the first step to be taken is:
Distribute merits of success and take responsibility for setbacks.