Leadership has always been talked about as being extraordinary in both ordinary and exceptional times. No one talks about developing the ability to be ordinary in extraordinary times.
The present situation with the pandemic is one of the most humbling experiences that the existing global population has faced. It is an equaliser. It throws the spotlight on our helplessness as human beings while also bringing out the heart touching moments in humanity.
First, let's accept this fact—the current times are hard, whether you are in lockdown or may get there soon. Along with the practical difficulties of living our daily life, staying safe and healthy, there is this emotional churn that we all are facing. The fears of present reality and the anxiety of the future seem to be the predominant global emotion. There are many of us trying to rise to the occasion, staying optimistic, and trying to be solution-oriented. Yet it is so much harder to be so. It feels so elusive to stay focussed while working from home.
Leaders who run large global teams, efficient, intelligent, experienced, and always in control of situations, are now faced with this unprecedented reality. No one knows what the future holds. The prediction of the future has never been this uncertain.
Like most type-A people, I decided to use this time to shine. While others were in survival mode, I decided to use this opportunity to thrive, and yet, I could not. During this period, most times, I have had a positive attitude and approach in dealing with things, but sometimes I do find myself unfocused and unmotivated. Despite being equipped with all the tools as a coach to keep myself engaged and inspired, I realised I was still unable to operate at optimal performance.
As I reflected on this I recognised two critical things to navigate these rough times:
- I realised what was needed right now was to allow myself to feel vulnerable.It is natural to feel out of balance if you have always had a plan or big goals and now the path to them feels unfamiliar or non existent. If your team looks to you for answers, it is okay to say you don't have any, because you truly don’t. If you have to miss a meeting to take care of your child at home, admit it. By allowing yourself to be ordinary, you will take so much pressure off your shoulders, and this simple act will make you extraordinary in these times.
- The second thing that can genuinely help deal with current circumstances is staying present. The need to have faith and remain in the present moment is now needed more than ever before. Every time your mind tries to analyse future possibilities, it is bound to be confused. You will find yourself spiralling into anxiety and worry. That's just the nature of the brain. It will try to make sense from existing parameters, all of which are being challenged at the moment. Bring yourself back to the present while keeping the faith that it will all be okay, and if not, you will have the resources to deal with it then. Worrying about it now only sucks away valuable energy, it is exactly what shakes the focus and high performance in the now.
Identify those actions, rituals or practices that allow you to execute on the above two points. The better you get at that, the more your leadership abilities will improve.
Views are personal.
The author is the founder and CEO of Talent Power Partners a global Leadership Development company based in Bangalore. She is a Leadership Development Specialist, an ICF Certified Executive Coach [PCC] and author of the book - Team Decision Making.